Not only the gases that come out of the exhaust pipe, factories and cigarettes pollute the air. There are also a terrifying amount of air pollutants in your own home. These are the 10 most common.

Air pollution can make us sick , and this is nothing new. And we are not just talking about the car exhaust pipe or the big factories that pollute the air in big cities. The air in our home can also be polluted by various everyday objects . Here are ten air pollutants that can be in your own home:

1. Furniture can cause sick building syndrome

So-called volatile organic compounds (VOCs for short) are contained in the adhesives and tackifiers of many furniture. VOCs evaporate even at low temperatures. If we inhale these substances in closed rooms, we may experience headaches, itchy skin and allergies, fatigue and sleep disturbances, reduced performance, or irritation of the respiratory tract.

Solution: Well-sealed furniture keeps toxic substances out of the air. The next time you buy furniture, make sure it is certified and lead-free. Or choose used furniture where the VOC has already evaporated.

2. Fragrances of perfumes, deodorants and hairspray are big air pollutants

Yes, perfumes, deodorants, and similar products have pleasant smells. However, with each spray we absorb small particles of the ingredients through the skin and nose, which over time accumulate.

Solution: Use soaps, shampoos and lotions only in moderation and pay attention to the ingredients. It is better to avoid artificial beauty products. You can always turn to natural alternatives like coconut oil instead of an industrial face cream.

3. Decorative items can cause cancer

Whether it’s Christmas or Easter decorations: those who put plastic decorations in your apartment run the risk of polluting the air. Dichloroacetic acid (DCA) contained in some plastics and artificial stones is suspected of being carcinogenic.

Solution: If you don’t want to stop decorating your home, the best thing you can do is use decorative elements made of glass or natural materials. Better to do without plastic altogether

4. Carpets can cause allergies

Carpets are soft and comfortable, but at the same time they collect dust, hair, and dander. Some possible consequences of this are allergic reactions and even asthma attacks. Some carpets also contain VOCs, others have been treated with toxic flame retardants.

Solution: Tile, laminate and parquet are definitely the healthiest types of flooring for the home and the best alternatives in this case. If you still don’t want to get rid of the carpet: make sure you have a seal of approval that ensures the lowest amounts of VOCs. If you have carpeted floors, it is best to use a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate filter (HEPA filter).

5. Printer cartridges can contain toxic chemicals

Printer cartridges emit VOCs (see point 1) and other pollutants when printing. These chemicals are glycol ethers and can cause malformations if absorbed in large amounts.

Solution: Use the printer only if it is really important! And preferably in very well ventilated rooms.

6. Scented candles can irritate the respiratory tract

Candles are wonderful for creating a pleasant atmosphere. Unfortunately, many candles contain benzene, toluene, and various alkanes. They are suspected of being carcinogenic and irritating to the respiratory tract.

Solution: if you have candles, it is preferable that they be made of beeswax! These even help with air purification. You should avoid synthetic candles if possible. If you prefer fragrance oils, you should choose pure natural oils without additives.

7. The clothes dryer is a highly underestimated air pollutant.

Many detergents and fabric softeners contain countless ingredients that adhere to clothing. If you put your clothes in the dryer, of course they will smell good, but the heat produced will cause these chemicals to pollute the air you breathe .

Solution: Odorless herbal detergents are definitely healthier than chemicals.

8. Potting soil can pollute the air with mold.

Plants are very good air filters. However, you should pay attention to the potting soil. Moldy soil can fill the air with mold particles. The result: high air humidity and increased risk of allergic reactions.

Solution: To prevent mold from forming in the potting soil, you can sprinkle fishbowls in the potting soil. If the mold is already there: transplant the plant urgently and use fresh soil! In any case, when buying soil, make sure that the plants have not been chemically treated.

9. Teflon-coated cookware can kill pets

Teflon is really very practical because thanks to this coating nothing will burn quickly. However, the polytetrafluoroethylene contained in the coating spreads through the air , which can even harm your pet and even kill small birds.

Solution: As long as the coating is not scratched, the polytetrafluoroethylene cannot escape. If you notice scratches, it’s time to buy new cookware. The best option is those made of stainless steel or untreated cast iron.

10. Household cleaners can cause asthma

Ammonia and bleach are, as is often noted in cleaning products, toxic to our respiratory tract . This can lead to asthma attacks and hormonal changes.

Solution: Forget expensive chemically produced cleaning products. Instead, you can make your detergents yourself: “Green cleaning” is the new trend in which you make your own detergents with basic agents such as vinegar or baking powder. You can even do without these cleaning products entirely.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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