Toxins are present in your home in the form of cleaning products, paints, furniture, synthetic building materials such as particle board and insulation, carpets, and even your printer and photocopier!
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are harmful gases released by all of the common household items listed above. These gases cause lethargy, skin rashes, headaches, drowsiness, itchy eyes, asthma-like symptoms and even cancer.
Be aware of what you are bringing into your home! I was reminded of this a few weeks ago when I was cleaning my house. I had run out of my usual brand of toilet cleaner, was in a hurry, and so grabbed a bottle of javex I still had sitting around the house from my pre-toxin awareness days. I used it (sparingly) to clean the toilets in my home…
The next day I woke up with what I thought was the start of a cold. My chest felt heavy and I could not seem to draw a full breath into my lungs. I also had a vague headache, and a “tickle” in my throat, but no other cold like symptoms developed. Later on that day, I developed a shallow, dry cough which felt like my lungs were trying to clear whatever was irritating them. These symptoms lasted for four days. Coincidence? I don’t think so; this is how my lungs felt most of the time before I switched to non-toxic products. Please visit the Melaleuca page on my website, listed below, to see the products I now use, all made with tea tree oil, an anti-viral, anti-bacterial, natural ingredient. My respirologist agrees, as my asthma-like symptoms have disappeared since switching to these non-toxic products…
You can also make your home healthier by adding house plants to your decor. Not only do plants look nice, they can 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 on 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.
Fifteen medium to large plants (greater than six-inch pots) in an average sized 2000 square foot home can greatly improve the air quality in your home, so get growing!
I have always been conscious of toxins in my home when my three sons lived here with us, and even more so now that five grandkids have joined the family.