Natural Solutions to Improve Indoor Air Quality

The quality of indoor air has an enormous impact on the health of all those breathing it. Unfortunately that air is often shockingly polluted, but several simple and natural methods exist to make it much more healthful.

Why Be Concerned About Indoor Air Quality?

It’s easy to underestimate how much time one already spends breathing indoor air. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, about nine tenths of the average American’s life is lived indoors.

It’s equally shocking to consider just how polluted indoor air often is. In many homes and other buildings, indoor air contains pollutant levels up to five times higher than is found in the air just outside the structure’s doors.

What’s Making Indoor Air so Unhealthful?

Some of those pollutants were introduced during the building process, such as formaldehyde in construction materials and carpeting. Others cycle through during everyday usage and living. Secondhand cigarette smoke, pollen, dust and dander all are brought in or shed by occupants. Still other pollutants, such as germs and molds, proliferate because of inadequate cleaning and humidity control practices.

These substances have myriad nasty effects. Formaldehyde irritates respiratory passages, skin and eyes on exposure. It’s also known to cause cancer. Dust, dander and cigarette smoke, including the secondhand variety, all can cause allergic reactions or worse. Molds and germs foster disease, with mold being the top threat to human health in most indoor air.

Bringing Fresh Air Back In

It’s no wonder that going outside is commonly spoken of as “getting some fresh air.” Luckily, allowing that fresh air inside is one simple but surprisingly effective way to improve indoor air quality.

Just opening some windows for several minutes each day can help. Stale indoor air escapes through open windows or doors, and the outdoor air coming in decreases ambient pollutant levels and balances humidity. Exhaust fans in ceilings or windows also can be used or installed. Those already present in the building’s appliances should not be left idle.

Plants Add Oxygen and Remove Harmful Chemicals

Houseplants create healthful air too. Plants naturally absorb carbon dioxide, exchanging it for oxygen. A study by NASA found that certain plants even remove pollutants from indoor environments.

The researchers suggested five plants in particular for removing formaldehyde, benzene or ammonia from indoor air. These are the Janet Craig dracaena, the bamboo palm, the rubber plant and the areca and lady palms.

Salt Lamps Assist in Purification

Germs, molds, dusts and pollen cannot be removed by plants but may be neutralized by salt lamps. The lamps’ salt crystals attract airborne water vapor. Along with that vapor comes tiny particles such as bacteria.

As the vapor contacts the salt, it evaporates and the irritant particles are neutralized. Best of all, salt lamps are most effective when switched on but still can improve air quality when off.

Small, natural steps to improve indoor air can pay big dividends for occupants’ health. Plants, salt lamps and simple ventilation improvements are easy ways to raise the quality of air indoors.

All content provided on the Indoor Air Solutions blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site.

Comments

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