Create a Green and Healthy Home (cont.)
Creating a green and healthy home: Clear the air
Ban smoking: The number one way to combat indoor air pollution is to
never let anyone smoke in your home, experts tell WebMD. "It's like inviting a
diesel bus into your living room," says Gina Solomon, MD, PhD, a senior
scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council and an associate clinical
professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.
"Cigarettes are full of toxic chemicals, and secondhand smoke exposure can
cause cancer. It's a no-brainer. No smoking at home."
Grow plants indoors: Live plants around your home act as natural air
filters, and some plants are particularly effective absorbers of harmful
pollutants emitted from carpets, furniture, and electronic equipment. So clean
your indoor air and "green" your living space by filling your home with spider
plants, Boston ferns, rubber plants, and palm trees.
Install a carbon monoxide detector: Carbon monoxide is an odorless
gas and exposure to it can be deadly. To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning,
pick-up a detector at your local hardware store.
Check for radon: Radon is a radioactive gas that is naturally
present in soil, and it can enter your home through cracks in your foundation.
Radon is also the second leading cause of lung cancer in the US, according to
the National Academy of Sciences. Radon test kits are available at most
Creating a green and healthy home: Shun toxic products
Choose non-toxic cleaners: Find eco-friendly alternatives to harsh
chemical cleaners, which can cause health problems and pollute the environment
as well. Several brands of non-toxic, biodegradable cleaning products are
available at both natural grocery shops and chain stores. Or make your own:
Baking soda is a cheap and effective all-purpose cleaner, scourer, polisher,
and fungicide. Switch to natural disinfectants such as tea tree oil or citrus
oils. Try borax and white vinegar as a toilet bowl cleaner.
Use cloths instead of cleaners: Skip the cleaning products
altogether and switch to micro fiber cloths designed to attract dirt on their
own. Used damp, the cloths clean most surfaces like glass, stainless steel,
brass, wood, and ceramics. When dry, they give off a natural positive charge,
which attracts dust. Simply wash the cloths after each use, and you can reuse
them again and again.
Give bug spray the flick: "You want to minimize the use of
pesticides in your home - and that's what insect repellants are," says Philip
Landrigan, MD, chair of the Department of Community and Preventive Medicine at
Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, and co-author of Raising Healthy
Children in a Toxic World: 101 Smart Solutions For Every Family. Instead of
using repellants, Landrigan says to keep insects out by sealing cracks and
holes around doors, windowsills, and baseboards. And keep food stored away and
kitchen and eating areas as clean as possible.