Air Quality of a Home

By: Shanna Rivera, CTT & Noemia Strapazzon

           When we think of health most of us think of our own bodies however, another very important factor is the condition of our homes, more precisely the health of the air we are breathing it. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans spend 90 percent of their time indoors-at home or offices. I have seen in thermograpic screenings, from sinus infections to chronic inflammation improved tremendously after looking into the indoor air quality.

            So what determines air health? Mostly is the amount of air circulation, humidity and the so called Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) inside a home. The air outside is probably cleaner than the air inside; therefore always open the windows even in the winter months for at least 20 minutes. This will help reduce CO2 levels as well. The humidity levels should be between 30% to 50% and you might need a thermostat to determine it. Most houses will also need a dehumidifier to keep at this level.

            Then there are the VOCs which are an off-gas from pesticides, cleaning chemicals, paint, non-stick pans, upholstery, mattresses, particle board furniture and some types of flooring. Since the major surfaces in a home come from furniture and floors we will discuss these two items:  

            Furniture whenever possible, choose solid wood furniture over pressed wood products. Bookcases, dressers, cabinets and other seemingly “wood” furniture are often made from particleboard, plywood or medium-density fiberboard (MDF)—all of which outgas formaldehyde. Also consider the finish on solid wood furniture. Ideally, you want furniture with low-VOC water-based or wax finishes.

            For floors that are a variety of options: Tile floors, hardwood and linoleum floors are probably the best options. Tile floors are generally a safe, non-toxic flooring option that is easy to maintain. It’s important to ask the distributor and installer specific questions about the safety of the grout, the ventilation process used during installation and any other materials used that could cause toxic fumes. Hardwood floors surface allows for dust and other allergens to be removed easily. True hardwood flooring is made from solid wood harvested from trees. It’s important to choose a non-toxic finish when installing new flooring. Linoleum flooring is made from all-natural and biodegradable materials including linseed oil, cork dust, pine resin and wood floor. It is very resilient and can last up to 30-40 years. Carpet and Vinyl are not a good choice. New carpet installation is a huge contributor to indoor air pollution which includes formaldehyde, benzene and stain repellents. Vinyl petroleum-based synthetic product, made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin along with additives, such as plasticizers, stabilizers, pigments, and fillers. A recent study found that most vinyl flooring, made from reprocessed plastic, contained toxic phthalates, lead, cadmium, brominated flame retardants, and other toxic chemicals. These chemicals can contribute to indoor air pollution by drifting out of the flooring and into the air and dust inside homes. 

            Is the quality of your home contributing to your health? Find out if the heat signatures in your body are indicating that there’s room for improvement. With medical thermal imaging you can see heat imbalances in that body that indicate need for further investigation. Thermography is possible early cancer detection and ideally used for preventing future issues. Get an over all health analysis with the technicians at Flow Well with medical thermal imaging. Visit www.FlowWell.org to schedule an appointment or contact us for more information.

 

Additional ideas:

- Use a doormat to prevent dirt from entering the house and always ask people to remove shoes when they visit.

- Mop or vacuum at least once a week and avoid carpet in the bedrooms. Wash sheets and blankets once a week.

-Use good quality dust-mite-proof pillow, mattress, and box spring covers in the bedroom, organic if possible. Keep clothing off the floor and shoes out of the room.

- Choose unscented, plant-based detergents, or go old-school and use castile soap or washing soda and borax to clean your clothing.

 

Lastly, add plants to help improve the air:  

Aloe Vera: It is easy to grow and filtrates benzene which is commonly found in paint and certain chemical cleaner.

Peace Lily: It is a beautiful plant and reduces the levels of mold spores. In bathrooms, the Peace Lily can help to keep shower tiles and curtains free from mildew and the plant can absorb harmful vapors from alcohol and acetone.

Spider plant: The leaves grow quickly and help to absorb harmful substances like mold and other allergens, so it is the perfect plant for those who have common dust allergies. It also helps to absorb small traces of formaldehyde and carbon monoxide.

 

 

REFERENCE:

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/breathe-in-breathe-out-how-to-138240

https://health.nokia.com/blog/2015/01/16/7-tips-to-improve-indoor-air-quality-in-your-home/

https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19930073077.pdf

https://www.cpsc.gov/Safety-Education/Safety-Guides/Home/The-Inside-Story-A-Guide-to-Indoor-Air-Quality

https://www.motherearthliving.com/green-homes/healthier-home-indoor-air-pollution-zmfz12mjzmel

https://thesoftlanding.com/looking-to-improve-indoor-air-quality-substitute-linoleum-for-vinyl-flooring/

http://www.hybridcoatingtech.com/Non-Toxic-Flooring-Options.html

https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/volatile-organic-compounds-impact-indoor-air-quality

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “About the Indoor Environments Division”