Have you heard about indoor pollution?
According to the World Health Organisation, 3.8 million deaths are attributed to household air pollution annually.
Various products and appliances commonly found in households contribute to poor indoor air quality. Who are the main culprits, and what can we do about it?
Gas Appliances: A Silent Source of Pollution
Gas stoves, water heaters, and furnaces are commonly used in households, but they can release harmful pollutants into the air, such as nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide. These gases can lead to respiratory problems, especially for vulnerable individuals like children, the elderly, and those with pre-existing health conditions.
Cleaning Products: Freshness at a Cost
Many conventional cleaning products contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can evaporate into the air, causing respiratory irritation and contributing to indoor air pollution. Additionally, some cleaning agents may contain harmful chemicals, such as bleach and ammonia, which can pose health risks if not used properly.
Mold and Mildew: Unseen Menace
Mold and mildew thrive in damp and humid environments, like bathrooms and basements. The spores released by these fungi can lead to respiratory issues and allergies. Long-term exposure to mold can be particularly harmful, causing more severe health problems.
Formaldehyde and VOCs from Building Materials and Furnishings
New furniture, carpets, and building materials often release VOCs and formaldehyde into the air, contributing to the phenomenon known as “off-gassing.” Prolonged exposure to these substances can cause headaches, dizziness, and eye irritation.
Tobacco Smoke: A Major Indoor Air Pollutant
Tobacco smoke contains thousands of harmful chemicals, many of which are known carcinogens. Secondhand smoke exposure in homes can lead to respiratory problems and increase the risk of developing asthma in children.
How to improve indoor air quality?
There are some very easy actions you can take to improve indoor air quality in your home.
In the 1980’s, NASA researched ways to clean indoor air in space stations. They identified air-purifying plants that are highly effective at cleaning the air from pollutants.
These are the top 5 air-purifying indoor plants that are safe for cats and dogs:
1️⃣ Rubber plant. Scientific name: Peperomia obtusifolia (aka: Pepper Face)
2️⃣ Bamboo palm. Scientific name: Chamaedorea elegans (aka: Good Luck Palm)
3️⃣ Pilea Peperomioides. Scientific name: Pilea peperomioides (aka: Chinese Money Plant, Lefse Plant, UFO Plant)
4️⃣ Spider plant. Scientific name: Chlorophytum comosum (aka: Spider Ivy)
5️⃣ Snake plant. Scientific name: Sansevieria trifasciata (aka: Mother-in-Law’s Tongue). ⚠️ They are safe for cats and dogs, but caution though, because they can cause nausea and diarrhoea in cats and dogs if they actually eat the leaves (unlikely) ⚠️