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Spring cleaning: Clearing the air

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Mention “air pollution” to practically anyone, and usually what comes to mind is the image of congested highways or industrial plants spewing forth obnoxious and toxic fumes into an already fragile environment.
But air pollution can also be and occur anywhere, like within an average home (or apartment).

And it can be caused by various things, like tobacco smoke, food odors (though some smells can enhance the home), household chemicals, biological contaminants (mold and mildew) or simply human and pet smells (or odors). And all of the abovementioned smells can unfortunately increase in intensity as the temperature rises or the humidity’s high.

If there’s poor ventilation in the home, pollutants can actually build up and even put the inhabitants’ health at risk. And the build-up can also negatively affect air quality, both immediate and long-term.
Some immediate effects are: eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches, dizziness and fatigue (you can even develop asthma).
Some long-term effects are: respiratory disease, cancer and even heart disease (these effects may not show up until years after initial exposure or after prolonged exposure).

To improve indoor air quality, you can eliminate the pollution sources, reduce the emissions, get more outdoor air into the home (opening a couple of windows), run a ceiling or attic fan (weather permitting) or use an air cleaner.

Open A Window!

Open windows will not only improve indoor air quality; they can also boost your mood and make a décor statement (by creating an inviting living space, “drawing in” a lovely outdoor view or simply by the design of the windows-some are an art form onto themselves).

Open windows can reduce energy consumption (fans and air conditioners don’t need to be on, unless it’s 85 degrees or higher), which in turn reduces reliance on electricity and fossil fuels.

Open windows can quickly remove and get rid of indoor air pollution (naturally; no chemical air fresheners needed) and bring in the scent (or smell) of fresh flowers blooming or a new garden.

Did You Know That…..

The American College of Allergists states that 50 percent of all illnesses are caused by polluted indoor air. And the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has described indoor air pollution as a primary environmental health problem.

Houseplants can filter indoor air, making it healthier to breathe.

Sources: “Air pollution can be indoors, too”-by MetroServices-The (Sunday) Vindicator, July 28, 2013 and “How open windows benefit the environment”-by MetroServices-The (Sunday) Vindicator, April 13, 2014

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