Here are some scary statistics for you. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 93 percent of all kids worldwide breathe toxic air every day of their lives.
But before you think, “Oh well, I’ll just keep my kids indoors,” consider the U.S. EPA’s recent shocking statement that, on average, our indoor air today is up to five times more toxic than our outdoor air.
Unfortunately, it just gets worse. A full 95 percent of Canadians report spending as little as five minutes per day outdoors.
What does this all add up to? It is time – and urgently so – to take a much closer look at the impact our polluted indoor air has on our children, their health, their growth and development.
In this post, discover five action steps to take right now to keep your child healthy this fall and for the foreseeable future.
What We Know About How Toxic Air Affects Children
Here are just three known impacts toxic air can have on infants and children.
- Moms-to-be who breathe toxic air are more likely to deliver smaller, low-birth weight, premature infants.
- Toxic air can be a trigger for asthma and childhood cancer.
- Air pollution affects the development of the brain and nervous system, fine motor coordination, lung and respiratory function.
In many places here in Canada, we are lucky to enjoy much cleaner outdoor air than what people in other parts of the world have access to.
However, we have a serious issue with outdoor air toxicity right here in Ontario, including in the Hamilton and surrounding areas (this recent blog post elaborated on this issue in much more detail).
As well, there is no measurable difference between the toxicity of our indoor air and that in other parts of North America or similar first-world countries.
We are all using basically the same types of chemical-laden cleaning supplies, personal care products, fossil fuels and tobacco products. We all face similar issues with indoor air pollution.
5 Steps You Can Take to Improve Indoor Air Quality Now
This is not an easy topic to talk about. Indoor air quality is declining at alarming rates and it is downright scary, whether you are a parent or a child.
But there is also good news – there is much you can do to improve the quality of your indoor air and your children’s health and development!
These five tips can quickly boost your indoor air quality at home.
1. Go green inside your home
For every cleaning product that contains unpronounceable chemical ingredients, there is a natural and safe agent that will do the same job.
For example, let’s take bleach, with its long laundry list of toxic health concerns. A great natural alternative is simple hydrogen peroxide (in the 3 percent professional strength) combined with lemon juice and water.
We wrote a separate blog post sharing our favorite easy recipes for all-natural, green and eco-friendly cleaning products that will keep your home spic and span without releasing any toxins into your indoor air.
2. Add green to your indoor space
There are a number of truly fabulous indoor air filtration and purification systems we are about to introduce you to here.
But one of the best – as well as the most visually appealing – is the humble houseplant.
Houseplants “breathe in” carbon dioxide and “breathe out” oxygen. So they are quite literally the perfect equalizer and indoor air cleaner!
We recently devoted a whole blog post to talking about the 10 best houseplants for cleaning your indoor air.
3. Invest in a heat recovery ventilator
Mould forms when humidity rises. Mould also tends to form during times of more extreme weather when our immune resistance is naturally lowered.
A heat recovery ventilator (HRV) moves heat energy and airborne moisture around to keep your indoor air cleaner and humidity-balanced to resist mould and mildew growth.
(As a side benefit, the heat recovery ventilator can also help you recycle energy and save money.)
4. Retrofit your HVAC to work with an indoor air purifier
Indoor air purification uses ultraviolet light to change the molecular structure of liquid and gaseous airborne pollutants so they cannot cause harm.
Both portable and central (ducted) indoor air purifier units exist. Central units can be easily retrofitted to work with your existing HVAC system.
5. Upgrade to HEPA filtration
We may be guilty of being the HEPA filter’s No. 1 fan but we aren’t going to apologize! HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) technology was originally created during World War II to protect scientists from radioactive particles.
HEPA filters can permanently remove solid airborne particulates as small as 1/100th of a single human hair from your indoor air.
Both portable and central (ducted) HEPA filtration units exist. Central units can be easily retrofitted to work with your existing HVAC system.
Talk to Your Child’s Teachers and Childcare Managers
At CleanAir Solutions Hamilton, we are parents ourselves, so we truly understand how scary a post like this can be!
For this same reason, we also want to offer you our personal (as well as professional) encouragement to gather up your courage and talk to your children’s teachers and school administrators at school about indoor air quality.
Researchers now know there is a direct link between learning ability, test scores and air pollution. The U.S. EPA has created some specific resources that may be helpful in expressing your concerns.
Get in Touch
Do you need expert guidance to improve the air quality in your home or workplace? We can help!
Contact us online or give us a call at 905-544-2470.