Toxins are present in your home in the form of cleaning products, paints, furniture, synthetic building materials such as particleboard and insulation, carpets, and even your printer and photocopier! Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are harmful gases released by all of these common household items listed. Exposure to these VOC gases can cause lethargy, skin rashes, headaches, drowsiness, itchy eyes, asthma-like symptoms, and even cancer.
My body reacts to these toxins with cold and asthma-like symptoms. Almost immediately upon exposure, I start off with a heaviness in my lungs, a vague headache, and a tickle in my throat. I then develop a dry cough which can last up to four days after the exposure, as my lungs try to eliminate the toxin I have inhaled. I have learned to avoid many of the toxins I was exposing myself and my family to by switching cleaning products. Since switching to non-toxic cleaning products my mild asthma symptoms have disappeared.
You can also make your home healthier by adding house plants to your decor. This will help remove toxins you have less control over. Not only do plants look nice, but they can also help keep your family healthy. Carbon dioxide and the VOCs described above, as well as other harmful gases such as benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene are absorbed through the roots as well as through pores in the leaves of plants. In exchange, beneficial and healthy products like oxygen and moisture are released into the air for us to breathe.
Choose plants such as spider plants, dracaena, English ivy, mother-in-law tongues, bamboo palms, and other tropical plants; they are all easy to grow and readily available. Tropical plants are suitable for indoors in homes and offices because they are used to growing and processing gases in reduced light under the canopies of jungles and rain forests. Water your plants thoroughly with warm water and let the soil dry out between watering; too much water is the easiest way to kill your house plants.
Some houseplants are suitable for a bright, sunny room while others prefer less natural light. Do your research to be sure you choose the right plants for specific areas of your home.
Fifteen medium to large houseplants (greater than six-inch pots) can greatly improve the air quality in an average-sized 2000 square foot home. What are you waiting for? Get growing and remove the toxins from your home!