Is Your Beautiful Living Space Healthy?

Having a beautiful home is pointless if it isn't also healthy. The EPA claims that 80% of the toxins you breathe are in your home environment, not the outdoors. One culprit is your crawl space but there are many other clean air offenders that you bring in as well.
Landscaping workers often spray chemicals that you track into your home, new furniture off gasses vocs, appliances emit harmful radiation and emfs, family members use toxic air fresheners and perfumes, your dog wears a topical pesticide and gets in the bed with you...see my point?
Scary isn't it? Yes it is very scary when you walk around your house and actually look beyond the decorating!

This is a vast subject but here are  few hints to get you rethinking your living quarters...

The Crawl Space-
Not much you can do here if you rent or own in a large building. I use an O2 brand biological air cleaner with good results. I have two, the one pictured is in my office space.

If you own a home be sure you have professionals check the crawl space for mold and have it tested for radon. And never ever store toxic chemicals like paint cans in your crawl space. From an air quality standpoint, you might as well have them in the living room.

Outdoor Chemicals -
Don't walk on the grass sounds simple, but it isn't. Toxic landscaping chemicals like Round Up spread 1600 feet in all directions. Use a simple method of salt and vinegar to kill your weeds and ditch the poison. Leave your shoes in the mudroom or have a place for them inside the door. And remember that many houseplants have been previously treated with pesticides.

New Furniture -
My advice is don't. I once had a neighbor who bought a whole house of new furniture from a leading furniture store. I could not walk into her home it was so toxic. Formaldehydes, glue, Scotchgard... the smell was overwhelming from her furniture off gassing chemical vocs. And she had a baby. I shudder to think of the health problems her child will have as an adult from the exposure. It takes years for furniture to release all the vocs. Buy wisely, antiques have already off gassed.

Radiation and EMFs-
Every one knows not to sit too close to the television because it emits radiation and EMFs, (electro magnetic fields) that are harmful to  our bodies. These days it is more than the TV emitting this. It is your refrigerator, your HVAC, your computer, your smart meter, your router, your cell phone, the nearest cell tower and basically anything electrical in your home. We are assaulted with EMFs in our home. I own a Gauss meter and highly recommend that you buy one as well. They are not expensive. Test your whole space on a regular basis and correct any area that has very high readings. Our local cable company, Comcast, will test for EMFs when they do an install if you request it. We are as a nation, assaulted with huge amounts of electro magnetic fields and radiation. It causes major health problems, more so even than smoking. It just makes sense to reduce the EMFs in your home.

Air Fresheners and Cleaning Chemicals-
 Open a window if you want fresh air. There is nothing fresh about commercial air fresheners. Veterinarians will tell you that Febreze kills birds and small animals. Did you know that air fresheners and cleaning products do not go through rigorous safety testing before being put on store shelves? Be wise about your purchases, choose products that are environmentally safe or make your own. I don't want  phyhalates, dichlorbenzene and other toxins in my home.
For the New Year, perhaps it is time to look around and rethink the chemicals around you. A beautiful decor is uplifting and inspirational, but not if it is killing you. Having a home that is toxin free is a passion of mine. I will be sharing tips on how I do that periodically throughout the year. Until then..cheers!


Deb Peabody said...

Great article! I have had friends buy a home and install new carpeting and the outgassing from that prevented me from even entering their home for over a year without reactions that lasted 2-3 days. They used no VOC paint and natural cleaners and their furniture is several years old - I was able to go to their previous home but unable to enter their place for over a year. Even my husband going there and not tossing his clothes immediately in the laundry and showering set me off. Migraine, swollen and painful muscles and joints, brain fog, tinnitus, dizziness and fatigue are how I reacted for 2-3 days.
Houseplants help to clean the air and have seen a list of ones that help remove formaldehydes or VOCs. Finding an organic nursery or starting them from seed yourself will prevent bringing pesticides into your home.
Keep up the great work of melding beauty into our lives in a safe and healthy manner.

Jennifer Baumer said...

This is a very helpful, educational article. I look forward to your future tips!


Deb Peabody said...

Love my antique dressers - 1880s tiger oak with serpentine fronts. Hubby bought them dirt cheap in Omaha in 1986 and still Grace our bedroom. With my chemical sensitivity most our furniture is used, vintage or antiques and our home is filled with plants.

Gilby reads and recommends Modern Dog