I’ve been making major changes around the house to improve the air quality and create an overall less toxic home. After all, the air inside the average home is four to ten times MORE polluted than the air outside! Maybe I worry for nothing, but you can never be too safe!
Air Filtering Plants
I read about the NASA Clean Air Study, which researched ways to clean air in space stations. They came up with a list of air filtering plants that not only absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen (as all plants do!); these plants also eliminate significant amounts of benzene, formaldehyde and/or trichloroethylene. I have been purchasing more plants to have throughout the house. My favorite is the Snake plant.
Rid the home of plastic
I traded my old plastic water bottles for stainless steel Klean Kanteens. Plastic containers can cause leeching and off-gassing of toxins into the air and food/water. I also replaced my Tupperware with glass containers and switched Sami's food into a glass storage bowl as well.
I replaced my PVC (vinyl) shower curtain liner with a cotton one. Not only can it be tossed into the wash weekly with my towels but it does not emit toxic chemicals. Toxic chemicals released from PVC shower curtains can lead to serious health problems including nausea and headaches; respiratory irritation; damage to the central nervous system, liver and kidneys; and loss of coordination.
You can't see radon, you can't smell it or taste it, but it may be a problem in your home. Radon is estimated to cause many thousands of deaths each year. In fact, the Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today. January is National Radon Action Month so residents of Oakland County can purchase radon testing kits for half price ($5) from Oakland Health Division offices in Pontiac (1200 N. Telegraph), Southfield (27725 Greenfield Rd.) and Walled Lake (1010 E. West Maple Rd.) THIS WEEK ONLY (any other time you have to pay $10). I’m getting mine on Thursday and I urge you to see if your county offers a similar program!
Carbon monoxide detectors
I own two carbon monoxide detectors in the house – one in the basement near my gas heater and one in the bedroom. I also have my furnace checked each fall to ensure that it is operating efficiently and they are able to find small carbon monoxide leaks before they become larger problems. The detectors you buy in a store do not detect small leaks and are a last resort to alert you that you have a larger problem.
I’m having my registers and vents cleaned in the spring once I can turn off the furnace. This will help rid my house of mold spores, pet hair and dust that can cause allergies and asthma.
Vacuum that really sucks! (in a good way)
As you all know I replaced my old vacuum with a new Dyson DC25 with a lifetime washable HEPA filter. I am amazed each time I vacuum at how much this little sucker picks up! I highly recommend one for anyone with pets.
Sami gets on board!
Some kitty litters can be burdens on landfills and the traditional clay variety, which is often strip-mined, often contains silica dust, a carcinogen that can cause cause respiratory problems for both me and Sami. I'm going to try the World's Best Kitty Litter since it is corn-based, clumping, and biodegradable. We'll see if she likes it!
I am in the process of switching to all environmentally-friendly cleaning supplies. Green cleaning techniques and products avoid the use of chemically-reactive and toxic cleaning products which contain various toxic chemicals, some of which emit VOCs causing respiratory and dermatological problems. I love Method cleaning products and am using up the products I currently have and replacing them with Method. Their cleaning formulas contain biodegradable ingredients from natural materials like soy, coconut, and palm oils, while their packaging is made from the most readily recyclable materials.
I also have been using dryer balls rather than fabric softener sheets so that I won't have chemicals on my clothes/sheets/towels and my laundry detergent is fragrance-free (still finding a good switch from Tide).
I started buying organic produce, meats, eggs and dairy products when possible. Organic is expensive but well worth it since I only get one body!
As I previously mentioned my brothers gave me the Cuisinart Greenware Cookware skillets for Christmas. I purchased the 10 piece set from Bed, Bath and Beyond using a 20% off coupon so I now have not only the skillets but also pots! The non-stick finish is petroleum-, PTFE- and PFOA-free for healthier cooking. The aluminum pan construction provides superior heat conductivity which requires less energy to achieve desired cooking temperature. The riveted stainless stick handles stay cool on the stove top and are made of 70% recycled stainless steel. My old pots and skillets were Teflon which when heated can release chemicals in the air and in your food. PFOA has been found to cause cancer in animals and humans.