EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAM. WE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. STARTING OCTOBER 13, 2014 A NEW TIME FOR THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAM MEANS A NEW TIME FOR THIS SEGMENT… YOU CAN NOW STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 835AM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.
GREEN TIP: With winter fast approaching, make sure your indoor air is healthy. Finding ways to sustainably improve the quality of your indoor air will minimize your health risks.
Everything that’s in our home makes up our indoor air quality. The materials we’ve used to build our house, the paint on our walls, our furniture; all the pieces that make our house a home can potentially be harmful to our health.
Pollution from power plants, cars, and other transportation is a well-known contributor to outdoor air pollution, but our indoor air quality is often worse; it can be up to 10 times worse for you than the air outside. Microbial pollutants like mold, pet dander and plant pollen can combine with chemicals like radon and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to create a pretty toxic environment in your home; since we spend an average of 90% of our time indoors and 65% of our time inside our homes, according to the National Safety Council, that can add up to allergies, asthma and worse.
Some ways to keep your indoor air healthy:
- Maintain proper ventilation.
- Minimize the use of harsh cleaners or cleaners with strong fragrances. Anything that is artificially scented pollutes your environment. The word “fragrance” on a label can mask up to 100 different chemicals, and synthetic scents have been found to trigger migraine headaches and asthma attacks.
Check out this University of Washington study to find out more information about why the word “fragrance” in products should be a red flag for consumers: http://www.washington.edu/news/2008/07/23/toxic-chemicals-found-in-common-scented-laundry-products-air-fresheners/
- Garden and take care of your lawn without using pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. These toxic chemicals can be tracked into your home on shoes, clothes or paws.
- Houseplants are some of the most effective air cleaners.
- Aloe Vera soothes burns and removes formaldehyde from the air.
- Corn plants remove benzene and cigarette smoke from the air.
- Spider plants absorb carbon monoxide.
- Peace lilies remove acetone, trichloroethylene, benzene and formaldehyde.
- Dwarf date palms negate harmful effects from xylene (found in paints).
Source: Natural Health Magazine, July/August 2010
- Avoid smoking indoors. Tobacco smoke contains thousands of indoor pollutants at high concentrations.
- Don’t idle cars, lawnmowers and so on in the garage (especially attached garages).
For more tips on improving indoor air, visit Greenguard Environmental Institute.
Check out this really amazing air purifier – the ANDREA air filter. ANDREA employs both active plant filtration, along with water and soil to provide a multistage system that cleanses air from harmful toxins that can irritate and be harmful to your lungs. It naturally purifies air by drawing it with a whisper-quiet fan to propel it through the leaves and root system of a plant, then out through water and soil filtration and back into the room environment.
My Green Side’s web pick of the week:
Greenguard Environmental Institute
The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI) was founded in 2001 with the mission of improving human health and quality of life by enhancing indoor air quality and reducing people’s exposure to chemicals and other pollutants. In keeping with that mission, GEI certifies products and materials for low chemical emissions and provides a free resource for choosing healthier products and materials for indoor environments.