We’d all love it if our homes smelled fresh 100 percent of the time, wouldn’t we? We know, however, that that isn’t entirely possible. Cleaning, of course, is mandatory. We can’t expect the dirt, dust, pet dander and hair in our homes to sweep themselves away. And we certainly can’t expect the spills to wipe themselves up.
Can cleaning be bad for us?
Unfortunately, many of us tend to create more problems than we fix during our cleaning routines. That’s because of the prevalence of chemical-based cleaners we so easily find in the stores. Most of them contain volatile organic compounds, which are also known as VOCs, for short. And here is their short story: they’re bad for your health!
As reported by Ian Sample on TheGuardian.com, “household cleaners, paints and perfumes have become substantial sources of urban air pollution as strict controls on vehicles have reduced road traffic emissions, scientists say. Researchers in the US looked at levels of synthetic ‘volatile organic compounds’, or VOCs, in roadside air in Los Angeles and found that as much came from industrial and household products refined from petroleum as from vehicle exhaust pipes.”
What are the health implications of VOCs?
As the Government of Canada explains on Canada.ca, short-term exposure to high levels of some VOCs can cause breathing problems as well as irritation of the eyes, nose and throat. Exposure to VOCs is also known to cause headaches.
“Some people may be more sensitive, such as people with asthma,” the site elaborates, “Most people are not affected by short-term exposure to the low levels of VOCs typically found in homes. For long-term exposure to low levels of VOCs, research is ongoing to better understand any health effects from these exposures. Long-term exposure to high levels of some VOCs, however, may result in health effects.”
What can be done to naturally purify the air in our homes?
It’s important to point out that ventilation is a top way to rid your household of pollutants. Keeping the windows open will help for the stale and stagnant air from inside to circulate with the fresher air from outside.
On NDTV.com, Aashna Ahuja lists ventilation as a top way to purify the air in your home. She also lists a number of natural and safe-to-use air purifiers. They include beeswax candles, salt lamps, activated charcoal, essential oils and, as you may have expected, houseplants.
“It’s the best way to counter the impact of pollution indoors, particularly if you have a family member with some respiratory illness,” Ahuja informs, “It’s suggested that you have at least one plant per 100 square feet of home for efficient air cleaning to be accomplished. The best plants to filter toxins from the air are Peace Lily which prefers moderate sunlight, Lady Palm or Broadleaf Lady Palm which is adaptable but prefers bright, indirect light.”
Enviro-Works Inc. proudly offers VOC Testing which employs the EPA TO-17 using GC-MS method for the determination of VOCs. This method uses active or passive sampling of air that traps the target analytes onto a multi-sorbent bed tube. To learn more about our VOC Testing, please don’t hesitate to call us at 780-457-4652 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.