What would you do if you knew for a fact you were exposed to 3,000 or more airborne chemicals in the average week?
You would probably be shocked, perhaps worried, but maybe also more than a bit skeptical.
Unfortunately, scientists at Stanford University have now confirmed that the average person living in an urban environment is surrounded by toxic air both indoors and outdoors.
The exact nature of the toxins in your air can vary depending on a number of factors, including where you live, whether or not you have pets or use tobacco products, your existing landscaping and even what kind of paint covers your walls.
But what doesn’t seem to vary much is the high rate of chemicals in our air supply today. You may not be able to do a lot about the content of your outdoor air, but you can control the quality of your indoor air. This post will explain how!
Two Key Factors Impact Your Health: Genes and Environment
For every person alive today, there are two factors that control your health (or lack thereof) more than any others. These two factors are your DNA (your genes) and the surrounding environment.
You really can’t do much about your DNA – your genes come to you courtesy of your parents and may predispose you to some health conditions.
But you can do a lot about your environment, which in turn may be able to limit or even prevent certain health issues encoded into your DNA from manifesting.
3,000 Chemicals Is a Lot: What’s In Your Air
There are two main types of airborne contaminants regularly found in the air today: gaseous toxins and particulate toxins.
Gaseous toxins can come from cleaning or personal care products, paints and glues, air fresheners and perfumes, insecticides and pesticides, aerosol products, radon, carbon monoxide and more.
Particulate toxins can come from burning fossil fuels or tobacco products, bacteria and viruses, pollen and fungi like mould and mildew, pet dander, smoke from household or forest fires, metal and mineral dust, asbestos and more.
Monitoring Your Indoor Microbiome Cloud
Your personal exposure to airborne gases and particulates is called your “microbiome cloud.”
Research participants in the Stanford study wore personal armband monitors to identify all airborne chemicals they were exposed to against a control group of 40,000 items commonly found in the environment today.
While these armbands are not yet available for mainstream purchase and use, there is another effective, affordable way to monitor the presence of dangerous chemicals in your indoor air.
Indoor air quality testing takes just 72 hours from start to finish and can be done silently and unobtrusively. The monitoring unit takes an air sample every 60 seconds, analyzing its content and producing a full-color report identifying each contaminant and its percentages.
This is the best way to gather the data you need to clean up your indoor air using the right tools for the job at hand.
A Combination Approach to Clean Your Indoor Air
As our buildings become ever more airtight, air circulation and ventilation becomes increasingly hard to come by. This makes getting rid of trapped indoor toxins harder than it ever has been before – there is literally nowhere for them to go!
As well, some types of indoor air cleaners work best to trap and remove particulates like dust and soot, while other cleaners are ideal for removing and neutralizing gaseous compounds.
For this reason, it will likely take a combination approach to fully scrub your indoor air clean of harmful contaminants. You need different components to address gases, particulates, humidity, air circulation and whole-home ventilation.
1. Clean out your indoor air ducts
This first step is so important! You can do everything else to clean up your indoor air, but if you don’t address the toxins trapped inside your air duct system, you will just have to do it all over again and again.
An indoor air duct cleaning securely vacuums out all trapped gases and matter, sanitizing your entire duct system and (if desired) deodorizing it as well.
2. Circulate and ventilate
Ventilation is the key to moving stale, toxic indoor air out and pulling fresh, oxygen-rich air in. A heat recovery ventilator separates incoming and outgoing air into two separate columns so they never mix.
At the same time, the heat recovery ventilator helps recycle otherwise lost heat energy to lower your heating and cooling bills and balance indoor humidity levels.
3. Remove particulates
There is nothing better on the planet today for removing airborne particulate toxins than the HEPA filter. HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air and the technology has been in existence since World War II.
HEPA filters can remove particulates so small you can’t even see them – down to 1/100th the size of a single human hair. Both portable and central systems exist.
4. Remove gaseous toxins
For gaseous compounds, what you need is ultraviolet light. Short of cutting a sunroof in your home’s ceiling, the best option is to install an ultraviolet light purification system that focuses UV light to purify your indoor air.
UV air purifiers use UV-C light, the strongest ultraviolet light band, to change the molecular composition of gases so they cannot cause harm. Both portable and central systems exist.
5. Install and check safety monitors
Finally, it is vital to ensure your in-home carbon monoxide, radon and smoke detector alarm systems are functional to detect urgent air quality issues.
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Do you need expert guidance to choose the right indoor air cleaners and purifiers for your family’s health and wellness?
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