Indoor pollutants can impact the health of everyone in your home but children are more vulnerable when exposed over a period of time.
Asthma is a chronic disease of the lungs, which according to a study published by the Asthma Society of Canada in 2014 affects approximately 3 million Canadians with 600,000 children under the age of 12 being treated for the condition. As well as external environmental factors, one of the main areas that impact childhood asthma is the home environment.
It is important to consider the design and layout of your home in relation to improving the quality of the air flow throughout your property. Properly planned and implemented, this could considerably reduce airborne risks to you and your family.
The Link Between Indoor Air Quality and Childhood Asthma
Everyday exposure to indoor pollution was associated with a higher risk of childhood asthma. These findings suggest that even at low concentrations, pollutants could be implicated in asthma and reinforce the importance of establishing guideline values to improve indoor air quality by limiting sources or by optimizing ventilation.
A 1991 Canadian study examined the impact of various indoor pollutants and the impact on childhood wheezing and asthma. This study concentrated on exposure to tobacco smoke, living in a damp home, gas cooking facilities. A 2016 study by UNICEF found that childhood death rates from indoor pollutants are higher in lower income and rural communities. Figures provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on childhood deaths linked to air pollutants (including indoor pollutants) are alarming. In response to the growing number of children suffering from asthma in Canada the Canadian Public Health Associated launched a “Clean Air Day” event to raise awareness with parents on the hazards of indoor pollutants to their children.
Most people only consider the impact of external pollutants like car fumes and factory outputs being detrimental to our health. The truth is that internal pollutants within our homes can be even more dangerous to our health and especially to younger children.
Some of the pollutants are more widely publicised throughout the media including Carbon Monoxide, Radon gas, and, Nitrogen Dioxide. Carbon Monoxide in particular has had several high profile cases and has been dubbed the silent killer. However, there are other indoor pollutants that can cause harm, especially to children. These include: secondhand tobacco smoke; lead particles that used to be present in paint until it was banned in 1978. These particles can become airborne with dust and still pose a threat inside homes; asbestos was a common building material due to its heat resistance properties but is no longer used in buildings since the health risk was identified. Older properties may still contain asbestos materials; mold may be present, especially if you have had any water damage. Some forms of mold can emit dangerous spores.
What Can Be Done to Improve Air Quality in the Home
Options to improve the quality of air in your home include using ferns and air conditioners to clean the air. When it comes to hygienic floors, you could use a hoover with a built-in HEPA filter that captures harmful particles like pollen, pet dander and tobacco smoke and mop regularly and keep pollutants at bay using a large doormat; use a dehumidifier and air-conditioner during the summer months to maintain a healthy humidity (30-50% is recommended); make your home a smoke free zone. Smokers should stand outside away from doors and windows, cigarette smoke contains around 4,000 chemicals; test your home for radon and if levels are high advice can be obtained from your local Environmental Services to reduce levels; and, reduce the number of chemically produced home fragrances like plug-in aerosols and deodorant sprays. Instead, go for more natural smells, pine cones, citrus fruits and increase the number of plants in your home. Furthermore, spider plants or Aloe Vera plants are all excellent choices when it comes to this option.
Positive action can be taken to ensure that your home is safeguarded to minimize the impact for you and your children. You can get started today with our Home Wellness Kit for Health Enthusiasts. It will show you how to think about design in a new and beneficial way that will inspire you to make changes in your home to increase your well-being.
Blog written by Sally Writes.