Often, we barely give a second thought to the air we’re breathing in our homes, even though we do spend the majority of our time there.
Most people don't realize that environmental toxins in their indoor air can be contributing to their symptoms and health issues.
Most assume that indoor air is clean, but according to the EPA, indoor air can be up to 2-5x more polluted than outdoor air, and this source of environmental toxins is not talked about enough when it comes to our health.
Indoor air can be a source of:
- endocrine disruptors like phthalates, PFAS, flame-retardants. These can disrupt our hormones and have been associated with weight gain, type 2 diabetes, thyroid and fertility issues
- bacteria & viruses
- VOCs like the carcinogen formaldehyde, which off-gas from our furniture and building materials
- Mold, pet dander, pollen.
- PM2.5 - these ultrafine particles are ubiquitous and come from fires, car exhaust, cooking. They can cause inflammation, dysregulate our immune system (think allergies, autoimmunity), and have been associated with numerous negative health outcomes like:
according to the WHO, "Many studies have demonstrated a direct relationship between exposure to Particulate Matter and negative health impacts. Smaller-diameter particles (PM2.5 or smaller) are generally more dangerous and ultrafine particles (one micron in diameter or less) can penetrate tissues and organs, posing an even greater risk of systemic health impacts."
Polluted air can lead to several short and long term symptoms, such as itchy skin, hive, congestion, fatigue, and irritability. Clean and high-quality air circulating in your home can be a crucial factor in optimizing you and your family’s health.
According to the EPA, indoor air can be up to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air due to VOCs, dust + harmful chemicals off-gassing from furniture, household cleaners, cooking, and much more. With the pandemic still in full swing, we’re spending even more time now indoors nowadays than usual.
Here are five methods I use in my home to keep our indoor air clean as can be:
Gradually switch out household products to less toxic ones (Check out what I trust and use in my home here!)
Ventilate the house when the pollen count is lower (typically early morning and late evening but if the pollen count is high overall, it may still be high at those times)
Utilize indoor air cleaning plants
Get a quality air filter (see below for suggestions)
Switch on your range hood when you’re cooking (Easy, but so impactful.)
NASA conducted a study  and found in addition to absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen, individual indoor plants may also provide natural ways of removing a few of the volatile organic pollutants. Granted, the study suggested that you need A LOT of plants to achieve meaningful purification, so it is not realistic to rely on a few indoor plants to clean your indoor air. However, they look pretty and even if they improve it by a tinsy little bit, I will take any excuse to keep indoor plants (just look out for mold!)
I listed the top ones studied by NASA, but they looked at many more, which you can access via the study.
The top household plants I recommend are (but there are so many more!):
The study suggests you need one plant per 100 sqft to efficiently have an impact on air quality. The study was also done in sealed spaces, so not really reflective of a home. To maximize air quality, I like to have plants and a trusted AirDoctor.
I also have two ultra-HEPA Air Filters at home. I love both of mine, and I have noticed a considerable difference in the air quality in my house.
I chose the AirDoctor because:
It uses an ULTRA-HEPA filter, which is 100x more effective than ordinary HEPA filters, capable of capturing airborne particles down to 0.003 microns instead of just 0.3microns with ordinary HEPA filters.
DUAL ACTION CARBON/GAS TRAP/VOC FILTER, which removes gas and odours whilst also deactivating certain volatile organic compounds like formaldehyde.
More affordable than some of the other high-performance brands, but offers comparable professional efficacy and high CADR score.
Less bulky and quieter than some of the other standard air filters.
While I highly recommend AirDoctor, don’t forget to do your own research and invest in a brand that suits your budget and needs. If you wanted to try AirDoctor, you could get it on a monthly payment plan PLUS get $280 off using my affiliate link - because I love the air doctor and it has helped my family so much, I decided to become an affiliate so I can bring you a discount, access to a payment plan AND receive a small commission when you make the purchase through my link.
Check it out here.