You consider your home a safe place, not only to spend quality time with your loved ones, but to breathe. If you have respiratory sensitivities or allergies, some of the elements in your home can be secretly affecting the health of your environment.
Scented candles and metal wicks – “Candles are fast becoming one of the most common unrecognized causes of poor indoor air quality,” says Diane Walsh Astry, Executive Director of the Health House Project, an American Lung Association education project in St. Paul, Minnesota. Candle smoke emission from wicks with a metal core result in a concentration of lead that lingers in the air and can pose a particular threat among people with weak immune systems. Children, according to the Mayo Clinic, are at the highest risk for lead poisoning, which can severely affect mental and physical development.
Aerosol paint products – Do-it-yourself has become quite the common practice in households today, making the use and exposure to toxic paint, thinners and paint removal products more frequent. Long-term exposure to vapors can be harmful, making ventilation of high importance. Opening doors and windows to allow fresh air in during use and when your project is drying is just as important as wearing respiratory protection like a paint spray respirator. Retailers do sell a variety of products that offer biodegradable features and no harsh fumes.
Nail polish – Tuluene, the solvent part of the ‘toxic trio” that gives a smooth finish to a manicure, when inhaled, can “impact the central nervous system, cause irritation of the eyes, throat and lungs, and is also a possible reproductive toxin,” according to the National Healthy Nail & Beauty Salon Alliance. If you are sensitive to nail polish, there are water-based products available today which contain acrylic polymers and natural colorants, are hypoallergenic, vegan, and fragrance-free. All without the harmful elements like butyl and ethyl acetates and formaldehyde. Check out our blog post on finding safe beauty salons.
Chemicals in cleaning products – Sodium hypochlorite, a chemical commonly found in bleach, water purifiers, and cleaning products, can cause poisoning if inhaled. Mixing ammonia (found in glass cleaner) with sodium hypochlorite produces a toxic gas that can affect the lungs and result in a burning of the eyes, gagging, pain in the throat, and possibly delirium or coma. If someone in your home has combined these products and been exposed, seek immediate medical attention. Poison control in the United States is available at 800-222-1222.
These are only four of the harmful products used in homes everyday that can threaten healthy breathing. If you or someone in your home has upper respiratory sensitivities or a weak immune system, it’s best to keep them away from these toxic substances, use a home air purifier or even better, resist the urge to brings these products into your home.