Your home contains your most precious things–your ginger toddler making her wobbly way across the kitchen floor, your spouse reading the paper in their favorite chair, the lovable mutt struggling to lick your nose, and, of course, the cat. Wherever he is.
Your loved ones deserve only the very best. And, the most important thing you can create for them is a healthy home.
It is unlikely that your home contains obvious hazards. No one will be falling down your well or stepping on an abandoned rake any time soon. It is likely, however that your home is not as health-friendly as it could be.
While you may eschew aspartame, you gave up your non-stick pans, and you recently threw out all of your mothballs, there is still one big problem. Your home is a refuge for a cacophony of carcinogens and other scary substances.
It’s really no surprise considering that, as an “Expert Interview with Lisa Beres on Making Homes Healthier” points out, the United States has only banned 11 chemicals from personal care products while the European Union has banned 1328. That’s more than a wee bit frightful.
So, what are some of the ingredients that home owners need to avoid?
Formaldehyde is a dangerous carcinogen that can be found in a vast array of items including insulation, fiberboard, particleboard, adhesives, and other building products. Yes, your kitchen cabinets that house your food and the very laminate floors that are in constant contact with your feet may very well contain formaldehyde. Try to choose formaldehyde-free products whenever possible.
The next time you are shopping for furniture, carpets, or paint, be sure to pick a VOC-free option. Items containing these “volatile organic compounds” contain hazardous chemicals that take up to three years to completely off-gas.
This carcinogenic gas forms naturally as a result of uranium breaking down in the rocks, soil, and water upon which your home rests–and one in 15 homes in the United States has a high level of this dangerous contaminant.
According to Parents Magazine, it is important for homeowners and apartment dwellers to test their home for radon using either an inexpensive kit that’s available at home-improvement stores or a building inspector trained in radon detection.
Sipping chardonnay and watching the flames dance in the hearth may seem like a taste of Heaven on earth, but this seemingly healthy back-to-nature, stress-relieving activity actually invites a host of lung-punishing irritants into your home. Yes, soot, ash, and smoke are extremely harmful to your respiratory system. If you must hang on to your cherished fireplace, make sure it is maintained regularly. Better yet, opt for an airway-friendly, natural gas version.
The single most important step that you can take towards creating a healthy house is by making it a smoke-free sanctuary. As Pulmonary Specialist, Dr. Len Horowitz, MD, tells Health Magazine, smoking causes about 85 percent of COPD cases in the U.S. and both firsthand and second-hand smoke must be completely avoided. If your house guests want to smoke, invite them to partake in this health-compromising habit in the great outdoors.
Your home is meant to be your refuge from the outside world. Make sure that your “safe place” is actually that–a place safe from chemicals that can harm you and the ones you love.
How have you made your home a healthier place?