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While the tendency may be to head indoors for relief, United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) studies indicate that indoor levels of many pollutants may be two to five times higher than outdoor levels, making it one of the top five urgent environmental risks to public health. In fact, many seasonal activities such as cooking, spring cleaning and redecorating can spread indoor pollutants. Did you know:
· Poor indoor air quality can cause a lack of concentration in school-aged children (Journal of Indoor Air)
· Every year, asthma accounts for an estimated three million lost work days for adults and over ten million lost school days for children (American Lung Association's Trends in Asthma Morbidity and Mortality)
Dr. Neil Schachter, M.D., past president of the American Lung Association of the City of New York, suggests a "home health check-up" to help make your home a healthier place to live. He recommends avoiding cleaning products that contain ammonia or chlorine, and limiting your pet's access to certain areas of the home, including the bedroom. A high performance air filter, such as a Filtrete filter, may also help improve indoor air quality. Listen to these tips and more on Dr. Schachter's podcast on www.Filtrete.com. While you're there, play the Filtrete Clean Air Fact or Fiction to test your knowledge of indoor air quality. You could win a home inspection from Steve Ramos, featured home inspector on HGTV's House Detective.
It's recommended to change your air filter at the start of every season, or every three months. Recognizing that this may be the last thing on the mind of a busy Mom, 3M, the makers of Filtrete filters, offers the Clean Air Club. Moms can receive seasonal e-newsletters featuring special offers, filter change reminders, better home living tips and more. Plus, the first 50 people to sign up each week will receive a free bamboo plant - a natural air purifier.
CREATE A HEALTHIER HOME FOR YOUR FAMILY
Tips for Giving Your Home a Clean Air ‘Check-Up’
- Avoid cleaning products with ammonia and chlorine – Ammonia and chlorine are volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can irritate the respiratory tract in people who are sensitive to these chemicals. They can cause watery eyes and sore throats and even can trigger coughing and shortness of breath. Choose milder yet effective cleaning aids like those that use baking soda, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and citrus oils.
- Houseplants...a clean air ally – Common indoor houseplants, such as bamboo plants, English ivy and peace lily, can provide a natural way to help fight against rising levels of indoor air pollution by absorbing some potentially harmful gases. A six-inch potted green plant can clean a room of excess carbon dioxide in eight hours2.
- Lay area rugs instead of wall-to-wall carpeting – Wall-to-wall carpeting can attract and hold indoor dirt, pollen, pet hair and mold spores and many contain chemicals. Vacuuming can remove some surface dirt, but often, the vacuum can actually push pollutants deeper into carpet fibers. Area rugs are best since they can be picked up and cleaned thoroughly.
- Use high performance air filters – Use a high performance filter, like the Filtrete 1” Advanced Allergen Filter from 3M, to help capture particles such as pollen, smoke, dust mite debris and pet dander from the air that passes through the filter. Be sure to change your filter at the start of every season. Test your knowledge of indoor air quality facts and blow away some fictions by playing Clean Air Fact or Fiction at www.filtrete.com/
- Restrict your furry friends – People who are allergic to cats and dogs are actually allergic to the dander that pets shed. To help minimize exposure to pet dander, keep pets out of the bedroom and especially off the bed.
- Turn up the air conditioning – Air conditioners not only cool the air in your home, they can also help reduce humidity levels. During the warm months of the year, turn up the air conditioner to help keep humidity levels lower, which can help keep mold from growing.
- Turn off the humidifier – Room air humidifiers are moisture-generating sources that can spread bacteria, mold spores and chemical deposits into the air in your home. Keep relative humidity between 30% and 50% to help prevent mold growth.
- Leave shoes outside – Avoid bringing contaminated outdoor pollutants indoors by removing your shoes before entering the home. Wearing shoes indoors can track particles that can become airborne, including animal dander, mold spores, pollen and bacteria.
Be sure to check out Mom Central, they work hard every day to keep moms in the know about important topics!
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