7 Reason’s Why Your Home is Not an Oasis of Fresh Air

Humans Breathe Oxygen

Did you feel that? You just took a breath. Most likely you didn’t have to think about it. You didn’t have to sit down, relax, and say to yourself, “Now don’t forget to breathe.” You did it naturally and normally. In fact, the average human takes approximately 20,000 breaths per day. Some of those breaths are deep, some are shallow. If you talk to a doctor, massage therapist, naturopathic doctor, or chiropractor, they will tell you to try to breathe as deeply as possible. Go ahead. Do it now. Take a deep breath. You probably need to……I’ll wait…… Did you do it? It felt great right? You have just oxygenated your blood. Now read on…!

World and State Pollution

There are some very smart and scientific people in the world who have dedicated their lives to understanding air quality. They have all kinds of charts, diagnostic devices, and mathematical calculations that tell them what is in our air and how safe our air is. You can navigate over to www.airnow.gov and learn everything you ever wanted to know about what you are breathing. They have the Air Quality Index and you can put in your zip code and/or city and find out the quality of the air you are breathing. They have a colored index and break down air quality into “Good,” “Moderate,” “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups,” “Unhealthy,” “Very Unhealthy,” and “Hazardous.” In case you are interested, you can go to the following links to learn even more about the quality of your air.

State Air Quality Resources

Alabama Department of Environmental Management

Alabama Department of Environmental Management – Air Quality

Alabama Department of Environmental Management Contacts

Alabama Highest Daily 1-Hour Average Ozone Values

Alabama Highest Daily 8-Hour Average Ozone Values

American Lung Association (ALA) of Alabama

What is in the Air that Ends Up in Your Home?

Mold

Molds are a natural part of the organic world. They play a part in the natural process of things by breaking down dead organic matter. When these molds find their way into your home, they attempt to do the same thing they would if they were, for instance trying to decompose a pile of leaves. Molds produce millions of spores that are invisible to us and float throughout the air space. When the mold combines itself to a surface that is also wet with moisture, then they will proliferate wherever there is a food source and water to assist them. Molds can cause health problems that include symptoms related to asthma and allergic reactions. The allergens produced by mold spores can infiltrate the eyes, nose, throat and lungs. Symptoms may be sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash. The symptoms related to mold infiltration in the human body may demonstrate themselves immediately or appear years after exposure.

Pollen Grains

Pollen is well known in the Southern States. It is a mass of microspores in a seed plant that appears as a fine dust. Pollen is transported by wind, water, and insects. The interesting thing about pollen is that it has a very strong outer layer. This layer, called the exine is very resistant to disintegration. Treatments with heat and acids have very little effect. Because of this strong exterior, it is difficult to eradicate pollen. Our hope is that a strong wind or rain will come and drive it all away. These pollen grains end up inside your home and also cause allergic reactions. The most common symptomatic reaction to pollen is hay fever or allergic rhinitis. This is an inflammation of the nasal passages due to allergens present.

Bacteria

Bacteria get themselves into some very small spaces. They occupy salt flats, deep sea vents, and the interior of humans. It should not be unusual they find a way into your home. Airborne bacteria transfer themselves between human beings, geographical space, and have even been found on other planets. Bacteria are living organisms that make their way into your dwelling through the ducts, windows, your friends and neighbors clothing and bodies, exhaled air from lungs, sneezing, and coughing. They can be found on every surface of your home, suspended in the air, and occupying dark crevices.

Decaying matter

Decay: To rot or decompose through the action of bacteria and/or fungi…to decline in quality, power, or rigor…to undergo a gradual decrease in structural formation. This is not something the average home owner likes to think about, but somewhere inside, under, above, or around your home there is some organic thing that is decomposing. It is dead and it is most likely highly toxic. In addition to giving off toxic fumes into the atmosphere, the decomposing matter is attracting fruit flies, mice, house flies, blow flies, and other kinds of rodents that thrive on decaying things. The typical reaction of the homeowner is to spray a chemical into the air, which in turn serves to further compromise the quality of the air in the home.

Dust Mites

Dust mites are guests in your home on a regular basis. They feed on organic, decaying matter at microscopic levels. They can cause asthma and other allergic symptoms. The dust mite’s digestive system contains powerful digestive enzymes (proteases) that remain in the feces of the mite. These enzymes then contribute to the phenomena known as wheezing in the human condition.

Residues from Chemicals/Household Products

Floor polish, window cleaner, air freshener, surface cleaners, bowl cleaners, metal polishers, detergents, disinfectants, bug sprays, are all sold to us as safe. Are they? Many of the ingredients found in these household cleaners are highly toxic. They are sold to us when they can prove to certain independent and government regulating bodies they are safe. But, are they? Many of the chemicals are biologically accumulative, that is they are not easily flushed from the body. Over time, they have a cumulative damaging impact on the body. Research also indicates that certain inactive ingredients in these chemicals can impact the central nervous system, reproductive organs, and other systems.

Leaving the Car On in the Garage

You know what you do. You start the car and remember you left your cell phone on the kitchen counter. You leave the car running and go back in the door. While you are in the house, you remember you have to drop off that blanket at your mom’s house on the way back. Pretty soon, its 10 min. later and you finally return to the car. During all that time, the exhaust from your car full of monoxides, toxins, and petroleum by-products have been sucked into your ventilation system. Your home is now being infiltrated by these pollutants. If you haven’t changed your air filter in a while, then you will breathe those pollutants when you arrive home.

Inside Vs Outside Air Quality

The reality of the situation is this. Since 1970 homes have been built “tighter” to conserve energy. That tight construction process reduces ventilation and keeps air inside your home. This has the potential to make you sick. The truth is, the air inside your home can be 2-5 times more polluted than the air outside. It may be important for you to understand that the Environmental Protection Agency has named inside air pollution one of the top five dangers in our environment.

The Old Timers Had It Right

Remember when your grandmother told you it was time for “spring cleaning? You would take all the sheets and blankets and hang them on the line. You moved furniture around and cleaned underneath it and sometimes took the furniture out and put it on the porch. You opened windows, doors, ceiling openings, and even doors to the basement. You let the air in and you let the bad air out. I suppose nobody really knew the scientific basis for such a cleaning. In these times, we do understand why we are cleaning and adequately filtering our inside air. Contact your professional AC maintenance person and ask for tips to reduce inside air pollution. Keep your AC unit and ducts in good working order. Replace air filters according to manufacturing specifications.

Besides that, you might just want to do what Grandma did back in the day. Open the doors. Open the windows. Let the bad air out, and let the good air in.

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