Did you know that last month was National Healthy Lung Month? If not, no worries, I didn't either! But, I just became aware of it and thought to myself, hmmm.. there are so many ways I am probably not keeping my lungs healthy. It's easier to think about the heart and brain and keep in tip top shape through exercise, nutrition, and stress management techniques. However, the lungs are important too!
So today's post focuses on the lungs and how we can keep them healthy. It all starts with your home!
The air inside your home is 2 to 5 times more polluted than the outdoors. Isn't that alarming? When I read that stat I immediately looked around to see what dangers I may have in my own home. I am a sucker for air fresheners and not all of my household cleaners are non-toxic. Eek!
Below are several dangers and ways to avoid them:
- Asbestos. If your house was built before the 1980s, get it checked for asbestos and hire someone to remove it if found. You do not want your lungs to be exposed to asbestos if you can help it. Exposure to asbestos can cause mesothelioma.
- Toxic cleaners. I am guilty myself of buying any cleaner without looking at labels, but some chemicals in cleaning products have been linked to health problems like asthma. Nowadays, there are many non-toxic options on the marketplace and the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has a website to easily help you locate these. Or, you can even opt to make your own cleaner.
- Smoke. This is a no brainer and luckily, most people do not like their houses to smell of smoke. However, if you have a household guest that wants to light up in the house, tell him or her to take it elsewhere.
- Radon. This invisible gas can cause cancer and it can be found in any home. So what can you do? Test your home. The National Radon Program Services has helpful tips on testing your home.
- Leaks and Drips. If you have a leak in your home, the standing water can encourage the growth of mold. Be observant and fix any leaks you find throughout your home.
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). These can be found in air fresheners and aerosol spray products, among other household items. VOCs can lead to chronic respiratory problems, allergic reactions, and headaches. This article I read from The Organic Institute states, "A clean home really shouldn't smell like anything." I like a fresh scent in the home, but fragrant air fresheners may be doing more harm than good.
I am sure there are plenty more pollutants not on my list above, but it is a start in building awareness! So what will you do over the next few weeks to make your home a healthier place for your lungs? I think I will be throwing out my air fresheners!