The Green Blog
Breathe Easier

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Since many of us are barricaded inside our homes during the winter months against the elements, we may not immediately think of how healthy the air quality is within our home environment. And some people who have allergies to outdoor plants and pollens keep their homes closed throughout the year, not just in the winter. How can we ensure that the air we breathe in our own haven of safety, our home, is safe and non-toxic?

You might be surprised to learn that air inside your home can be more polluted than the air outside of it. Radon, an odorless, invisible gas that seeps indoors from basements, concrete floors and other sources, is the leading cause of lung cancer deaths among nonsmokers in America and claims the lives of about 20,000 Americans each year. Exposure to radon is a preventable health risk, and testing radon levels in your home can help prevent unnecessary exposure. Testing kits cost about $25. If you detect unsafe levels of radon, you can eliminate them with proper venting.

Carbon monoxide is another silent killer. Make sure your smoke detector alerts you to a leak or dangerous levels. There are simple, inexpensive steps you can take to reduce this exposure in your home, too.

The EPA provides comprehensive information about these and other pollutants that can threaten our health, especially when our house is closed during the winter months. You can visit their site here to learn more.

Mold and other allergens can cause asthma and a host of health problems. Keep your dehumidifier in proper working order and your house clean. And speaking of clean, you don't need to use toxic chemicals to eliminate dirt and germs from your house. There are many green cleaning options that are safer and just as, if not more, effective than chemicals, and won't pollute your home. Pink Goes Green has great green cleaning tips here

It even helps to crack a window open, if only for a few minutes, to circulate air inside your house and lower the level of indoor toxins. Outdoor air is often much less polluted than the air inside. And plants really do help keep your indoors healthy - research shows that they absorb carbon monoxide and other pollutants, replacing them with oxygen and remove dust particles from the air. Find out which plants are especially effective in
combatting indoor pollution here

So breathe a little easier with these tips, especially if the winter weather traps you inside, and make your indoor environment green and healthy!