In a recent homechem study, scientists set out to study the effects of preparing and cooking a normal Thanksgiving dinner on indoor air quality.
The results were startling - by 11AM, having simply completed a number of menial basic tasks in the kitchen such as using the toaster, heating oil in a frying pan, and using the coffee machine, the concentration of fine-particulate matter indoors had risen to levels that would be deemed unhealthy by the EPA.
However, as Atmospheric chemist Delphine Farmer states, it’s “safe to say levels of many traditional air pollutants are lower indoors - until you do something like cook a stir-fry, at which point some of those levels will briefly reach peaks that are ten times the maximum observe outdoors.” Luckily, there are still a lot of practical measures we can take to keep our indoor air healthy.
Looking After Your Indoor Air Quality
Limit Sources of Indoor Air Pollution
There could be many contributing sources of poor air quality in your house, all with the potential to worsen underlying allergy and/or respiratory conditions. The first step is to ensure you're not bringing in dirty air from the outside by keeping up to date with the air quality at your location on a regular basis.
It's also a good idea to consider the type of cleaning products and methods of extermination you use to get rid of pests and dust mites. In the US, you can find non-toxic versions of most products which will go a considerable way towards reducing the emissions you release during the course of regular activities.
Eliminate Carbon Monoxide
Carbon monoxide is an odorless and colorless but nonetheless toxic gas. The EPA provides a range of helpful information regarding the common sources of carbon monoxide at home and the steps you should take to reducing exposure at home.
Use an Air Purifier & Ensure Proper Ventilation
By properly ventilating your home, you'll prevent a buildup of pollutants and allergens in a particular area. Simply by checking the air quality outside and opening up your windows when the air quality is good, can help to improve the quality of air you breathe inside.
We are big fans of smart ventilation and air purifier solutions like Dyson and Blue Air. Not only do these solutions help to purify the air in your home, they also communicate air quality levels where you are, inside the home and on your street. By making use of an air purifier like this, it’s a lot easier to understand when you need to switch your unit on and off.
Good ventilation at home will go some way to preventing mold in your home. Humidity also plays a big part so it's a good idea to do limit moisture as much as you can - mold thrives in damp and warm environments.
Check for Radon
Any home can have a radon problem, but like many toxic pollutants, it's hard to know it's there. Testing is very easy and low cost so if you haven't checked levels in your home recently, now is the time.
More Regulation Needed?
This study also underlines a potential need to turn attention and research to the management of air quality indoors as well as outside. So far, the regulation and impact of air pollution on public health has concentrated on levels of outdoor air pollution.
In the future, smarter home building protocols and devices that help to communicate the level of outdoor and indoor air quality at the personalized and individual level will also go some way to helping us ensure we breathe air that is as healthy as it can be, both inside and outside of the home.