Air Quality

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A lot is talked about in regard to health about the food we eat, the water we drink, the thoughts we have, exercise, etc. and little is focused on the air we breathe. I figured no better time to talk about this than now since most of us will be cooped up indoors these winter months.

Did you know: Indoor air pollutants have been ranked among the top 5 environmental risks to public health? This is especially concerning since people spend more than 90% of their time indoors! Indoor environments with stagnant air allow pollutants to build up which we then breath in. If we continue to live and work in these environments filled with air contaminants, they can eventually make us sick.

First let’s talk about what things may make the air quality in our home, work, car, etc. poor. Think of your furnishings, upholstery, synthetic building materials, paint, cleaning products, indoor air fresheners, etc., these can emit a variety of toxic compounds such as formaldehyde. Other sources of air pollution can include; pollen, bacteria, mold, car exhaust, etc. These especially are made worse in small or poorly-ventilated spaces.

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What do we do to improve the quality of our air then? Ideally opening the windows and doors is a great way to ventilate our living space while letting out stagnant and contaminated air. However, in the winter, most of us aren’t opening our windows to let the fresh air in because, well, that would be cold and increase our energy bills!

So what other options do we have?

Ditch the sources of contamination.
– Address any mold you may have.
– Replace your toxic cleaning products with clean products.
o Personally, Norwex products are my favorite!
– Swap those nasty chemical-filled air fresheners that are out or plugged into your walls! (I am extremely against these not only for the ill-health effects from them but also as someone who is very sensitive to chemical scents- I immediately get headaches from these)
o Try using a diffuser with essential oils to make your home smell so lovely as you get some therapeutic benefit from the oil.
– Be conscious of other air pollutants
o Perfume (another one you can switch with essential oils)
o Hair Spray
o Cigarette Smoking
o Car Exhaust
o Paint fumes
o Emissions from new carpet, furniture, etc

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You will be taking a huge step in the right directions by reducing the source of air pollutants.

Other things to help increase your air quality and ultimately your health are:
– Air purifiers
o Alen Air Purifiers are a reputable air purifier
– Air Dehumidifier
o Well-made dehumidifiers will keep air dry and thus less likely to be full of mold and dust mites.
– Incorporate indoor plants that filter the air you breathe.
o This is an easy and inexpensive way to clean your air as well as adding the beautiful look of greens into your home or office. Different plants are great for filtering different contaminants.
 Garden Mum: removes ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and xylene
 Spider Plant: removes formaldehyde and xylene
 Dracaena: removes benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and xylene
 Ficus/Weeping Fig: removes benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene
 Peace Lily: removes ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene
 Boston Fern: removes formaldehyde and xylene
 Snake Plant: removes benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and xylene
 Bamboo Palm: removes benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene
 Aloe Vera: removes formaldehyde

Clean air is an absolute must for your health. No exceptions to this. The air you breathe is going to affect your health in either a positive or negative way. With the more toxic our indoor air is getting and with the winter months approaching, I hope this brings some awareness to your air quality. I also hope this finds you with some resources on simple fixes you are able to incorporate to improve your air quality!

In good health,
Dr. Stephanie

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