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Air – it’s obvious that we need it, or we’ll cease to exist. I’m sure we can all agree on that by now. Yet, even with our extreme dependence on this life-yielding mixture of oxygen and nitrogen, most tend to overlook its quality. I mean let’s face it: we’re breathing it in every second of every day! Don’t you think its purity should be of some concern? Unfortunately, most people don’t even think twice when assessing their own air quality, and I’m about to tell you why that is a bad move to make.
I’ve actually been aware of this issue from a very early age. I was always curious about air quality, I know it seems weird, but it’s something that I’ve often thought about since grade school. I think it all started when one of my best friends became sensitive to air quality and developed asthma. Why did he have this life-threatening condition and not me? It was interesting to me, and I found myself often assessing the air more than most kids at that age. Yea, I know, pretty nerdy!
It All Just Makes Sense
It just makes sense to me that the air we breathe should be of the best quality since we’re all using it to stay alive. Am I right? Put it this way, it’s estimated that every person on this earth consumes about 20,000 to 75,000 liters of air in just ONE day! That’s a lot of oxygen! With this being the case, don’t you think it’s about time we address the quality issue? Because the truth is that this subject is often overlooked, when it shouldn’t be. So let’s dig a little deeper into all of that.
Our Inside Existence
Today, most people spend the majority of their lives indoors, and this is kind of sad in my opinion. We humans come from a long line of outdoor survivors, and what’s crazy is that we are still genetically set-up to live like this! So why are we cooped up in offices all day? I know it’s hard to avoid the office scene, I definitely spend a lot of time in front of a computer as well, but even so, it’s not right. This is why I am also a strong advocate of moving the body frequently. Even if it’s just 20 pushups every hour, something is better than nothing.
Although there is little we can do about the office factor because money is a must, there are things we can do to improve the overall quality of our existence indoors. The reason I bring it up is because indoor air quality tends to be worse than the air we breathe outside. I know, it sounds crazy right? How come? Well let’s think about it for a second. Not only does the outside air come inside, it also mixes with all of the indoor contributors. Let’s take a look at what I’m talking about below:
- Toxic paint
- Air fresheners
- Smog and pollution from outside
- Chemical sprays
And many more…
You see, all of these are substances that are not good for us to breathe. When inhaled, a barrage of medical issues can definitely surface, and this is happening to a lot of people. This is exactly why I bring it up; it’s possible that some of the health complications you may suffer from are directly linked to the air quality in your home. This subject is something that often flies under the radar, but it really shouldn’t. Not much time is spent on exposing this issue; therefore, I have a desire to talk about it from time to time. I hope that’s ok with you :)
So now that I’m in the zone to talk about all of this, let’s take a look at what POOR air quality could be linked to:
- Respiratory issues like asthma
- Headaches (something I used to suffer from a lot!)
- Even diseases like cancer have been tied in with the many chemicals that saturate houses and offices across the globe. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it, it’s no big mystery why diseases like cancer are such a MAJOR problem today when we have issues like these going on! Our modern world is loaded with toxic substances that are all very damaging. Cancer (in my honest opinion) is a result of issues like these. I strongly believe that it wouldn’t be as big of a problem if so many toxic chemicals didn’t surround us all day.
The Formaldehyde Invasion!
Formaldehyde is a very toxic gas that is utilized on a mass commercial level, and yes, you probably have a lot of it in your home as well! Actually, everybody has it in his or her body to some degree. Here’s a cool little article that I found interesting if you’d like to check it out.
Let me ask you something: do you have any pressure treated fake wood products in your home? Chances are that you do, and chances are that your dresser, bed frame, and/or living room furniture is composed of this stuff. So why do I ask this?
Well, formaldehyde is released from these low-grade pieces of furniture. And when these gas-producing items are littered throughout one’s home, something called “off gassing” then becomes a major concern. And let me tell you, it’s a very serious problem, because this affects a huge chunk of the population.
Plywood, particleboard, and various other types of pressed woods are the main culprits here. On top of this, formaldehyde can also be found in certain dyes, textiles, cosmetics, even the fertilizer that you grow your “organic” foods from! It’s in a lot of places and needs to be recognized as a health issue. And although formaldehyde is something to be aware of, it’s only one piece of the pollution puzzle here. I hate to say it, but this all get’s much worse.
Pesticides, asbestos, mold, heavy metals, cigarette smoke, dust, arsenic, and many others are what I’m talking about here. It’s gotten to be somewhat of a giant problem, and very few are taking the time to talk about this environmental hazard. And I find that crazy because it’s a pretty big deal!
Sure, there are some awareness groups that are adamant on exposing the truth here, but how effective are these campaigns? It seems as though all contributing efforts are going unnoticed. It’s like the giant elephant in the room that everybody refuses to talk about. Hmmmmm, kind of sounds like a lot of the topics I discuss. Starting to see a trend here?
I’m starting to wonder if it’s all not being talked about for a specific set of reasons. What do you think? Are we not being told these facts because certain agencies are tying to keep us sick?
So the question remains: what do you do?
Steps you can take to maximize your air quality
- Plants, plants, plants! That’s right, plants can drastically improve overall air quality. These air-purifying miracle makers not only produce great oxygen for us to breathe in, they absorb toxins like formaldehyde/pollution in the air. They’re like the ultimate little filters that you can place throughout your home or office. And the best part is that they look really good! I love plants and have really gotten good at picking out ones that work well with my home. For a list of great plants, click here.
- My second tip is to open up the windows and doors to get the air flowing more. Stagnant air is bad air, we want flowing air throughout that home of yours. If you can get this trend going every hour or so, you’ll be a step ahead of most people. I try and make it a habit to just keep my windows open most of the day. Cross-flow ventilation is the goal here. Opposing windows/doors that are open and flowing do a much better job of filtering out pollutants.
- Ditch the toxic cleaning products. These are loaded with ingredients that severely decrease air quality and can make those who use them very sick. If you can stick to more natural products, you can really increase your air quality and health overall. I’ve been doing this for a long time now, and feel really good about using more natural products. Not only is it good for the planet, it’s equally as good for our bodies.
- Only burn natural candles. Air fresheners and items like candles are burdened with harmful compounds that can raise some red flags in my opinion. I’ve done a lot of research on this issue, and can tell you with 100% certainty that the majority of scented products are dangerous and can really affect one’s health. Ditch the mainstream scents, for more natural ones. Read this if you don’t believe me.
- If repainting your home or office, stick to using naturally based products. I know most people don’t think of this as being an issue of concern, but trust me, science has proven it to be a problem worthy of worry. What most people don’t realize here is that paint, even if dried, can release chemical gasses into the air. These gasses are then inhaled by you and your loved ones. This study proves that these hazards are more of a threat to children then to adults. But don’t think that we’re not all at risk here. These are dangerous for any and all people. And that’s scientific fact!
- If possible, stick to REAL wood floors and avoid carpet. Many carpet companies use materials that allow this “off gassing” issue to be more of a concern. I personally hate carpet because of how dirty it can get! Hardwood floor is the way to go, hands down in my opinion. Bamboo also looks quite nice if you don’t mind spending a little extra on some high quality stuff. If using lacquer to finish it off, make sure it’s of natural quality as well.
- If you choose to have carpet, no problem. Try and use natural soaps when having it cleaned. Luckily, carpet-cleaning companies are becoming more aware of the need for environmentally friendly products and services. And this is great for all of us! Also, look into carpet that does NOT release VOC’s (volatile organic compounds).
- Buy an air filter! Put it this way, some filtration is better than none (same concept applies to water quality). But beware! Some filters are junk! Research which one’s are best and make a good decision. And this also pertains to your air conditioning filter as well. Change this out often. The cleaner your filters are, the cleaner your air will be. On top of having a bunch of plants in the house, you should be very proactive in keeping these clean and looking pretty new. I believe that there are reusable ones available now. A simple wash and dry is all that’s needed to keep them functioning well.
It’s obvious why these recommendations are praised amongst the underground health community – they’re issues worthy of discussion. One thing I often like to chat about is how toxic most people are living today, and this definitely applies to our air quality! Being aware is the first step to take, so good job on that if you’re reading this. It shows that you ARE interested in purifying your life.
Also to note, air quality is only one of the many areas to address if you’re suffering from any type of health related condition. Even if you don’t have any major issues going on, it’s important to take preventative measures so that these things don’t surface later on in the future.
Like I always say, there is a giant puzzle to put together here. Topics (like air quality) are only pieces of this overall puzzle. If you can actively become more aware of these issues, you can dramatically increase your chances of leading a full and healthy life. And I know that this is the end goal for everybody! Living with any type of disorder or disease is something that nobody wants to deal with, so being proactive in the preventative measures you take is a must.
Thanks for reading once again.