How to minimize pollution in your home
We’ve heard a lot about the earth’s increasingly polluted skies from many scientific and environmental groups. According to the European Space Agency and the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration, for instance, there’s a band of pollution that spans from Los Angeles to Beijing.
But don’t think that pollution doesn’t extend into your home too. Luckily, improving air quality indoors doesn’t need to be an uphill battle. Simply adjusting your cleaning regimen and ensuring your home is properly sealed will go a long way to help your family breathe a little easier.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, aerosols and household cleaners leak volatile organic compounds (VOCs) even when stored in closed containers. In the short term, they can cause headaches; in the long term, they can damage the liver and kidney. To keep VOCs under control, limit the number of cleaning products in your home and discard empty containers as soon as possible. Some easy VOC-free alternatives include using lemon juice on counter tops, vinegar on windows, and soapnuts for all-purpose cleaning.
It’s important to protect your family from particulate matter, micron-sized solid particles and water droplets that hang in the air and pose serious hazards to the heart and lungs when inhaled. In a recent study, Johns Hopkins University found a direct correlation between asthma in children and increased levels of particulate matter.
Particulate pollution enters households through air conditioning units, open windows and vents. Particulate matter accumulates easily in your humble air-con units, as they draw air from the outside.
To minimize particulate matter in your home, clean your air conditioner at least once a month, particularly in summer, ensure your windows and doors have good seals, and try to clean any vents in your home regularly.
Air purifiers capable of high-efficiency particulate air filtration (HEPA) are a good investment. These purifiers filter the air in your home, ridding it of dense forms of PM. Try the IQAir Health Pro 250 Air Purifier (RMB 12,800) available from IQ Air stores across Beijing.
Lastly, mind the cardinal rule: Don’t smoke indoors. Cigarettes contain more than 4,000 substances, more than 40 of which cause cancer and lead to short-term irritations that cause symptoms like coughing.