Interior and Health » 2008 » June

Interior and Health » 2008 » June

Posted by Merie Kent on Jun 06 2008

Sure, your home interiors can reflect your style and your sense of taste. They can say a great deal about you. However, your interiors also have a profound effect on your health. Good air quality indoors can mean a healthy respiratory system, fewer allergies, and fewer headaches. Poor air quality, the other hand, can put you at risk for some cancers, and can wreak havoc with your respiratory system. Bad indoor air quality can make you quite ill.

How can you create a healthy home interior? You can start with these tips:

1) Look for household products with low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). For example, buy paints, stains, lacquers, and sealants that don’t emit VOCs. Use water-based adhesives for home renovation projects, or buy floors, cabinets, and furniture that comes pre-glued and pre-assembled so that you don’t have to use adhesives with a lot of chemicals in them. If your furniture is packaged in boxes, let it air outside before bringing it into your home – this allows you to bring fewer VOCs in.

2) Avoid rugs. Carpeting gives off thousands of chemicals, and under padding allows mold and chemicals to become trapped. Opt for hard surface floorings or choose area rugs that you can clean frequently.

3) Choose natural over synthetic materials when selecting cabinets, furniture, and other products for your home. Many particleboards and plywoods contain formaldehyde as well as other dangerous chemicals. If you must use synthetic materials, make sure that all edges are sealed or laminated in order to prevent these chemicals from escaping. However, hardwood or soft wood is generally a better choice.

4) Watch out for chemicals that you bring into your home. If you usually clean your jewelry at jewelry stores or get your clothes cleaned at the dry cleaners, ask about the chemicals used to clean your things. Look for retailers who use natural cleaning products, or air your things carefully before bringing them into your home.

5) Buy quality and natural air fresheners, Votivo candles, and other scented products. Low-quality scented products often contain additional chemicals, and some of these products made overseas contain chemicals which are not legal here. For example, some low-cost candles made in China may contain lead.

6) Reduce the number of harmful chemicals that you use in your home. Choose all-natural and organic cleaning products, or make your own cleaning products from household items such as vinegar and baking soda – many websites show you how. Not only are these often as effective, that they have fewer harmful toxins. Similarly, avoid using pesticides ant insecticides in or near your home. You only track the chemicals into your home, and you can be sure that if something kills plants and animals, it’s not ideal for your health, either.

7) Clean frequently. No matter how clean and organic your home is, you are still tracking in certain chemicals from outside. Plus, even natural things — such as molds and dust — can wreak havoc with your health and allergies. Clean often, using a high quality vacuum cleaner, and dust frequently. This will help ensure your overall health and will of course make your home look much nicer as well.