Three Hidden Pollutants in Your Home
Remedies to cleaning the air in your home
I came across an alarming statistic yesterday — indoor air is two to five times more polluted than outdoor air according to the EPA. This immediately sent me into a Google search frenzy for tips to help offset indoor pollutants in my home. If we really do spend 90 percent of our time indoors, I knew this was something that I had to make a mandatory learning exercise. Here are three household items you might have overlooked, like me, that are contributing to the toxins in your home, along with some natural ways to offset indoor home pollutants.
Candles & Incense – I never thought about candles as a potential toxin. Yet unless you’re purchasing beeswax candles, you’re doing more than just adding a fresh scent to the room — you’re adding toxic chemicals. The same goes for incense. I’m trading in my conventional candles for 100-percent beeswax candles with cotton wicks and switching over to my grandmother’s tried-and-true natural method of aromatherapy – simmering a stick of cinnamon and orange peels on the stove.
Home Printers – Here is another petroleum-based product like the candles creating havoc in your home. Ink cartridges emit air-polluting VOCs. Switching to soy or vegetable based inks would be the solution here, but there are limitations on what’s available in the form of remanufactured cartridges. If you have a HP or Canon home printer, you’re in luck – well, sort of. There are companies out there who sell toners for certain HP and Canon models like Inkpal. I unfortunately have an Epson home printer and can’t seem to locate any company who is providing an alternative soy ink option. For now my solution is moving it so it doesn’t sit right next to my desk. This might not help in any significant way, but it will provide a little peace of mind.
Cooking Oils – This one gets a little complicated, but the key take away is that cooking with oils at a high heat produces Acrolien. According to Berkeley Lab, Acrolien is a genotoxic tissue irritant that was used as a nerve agent in World War I and is in the same family of chemicals as formaldehyde. Yikes! I’m still not exactly sure, even after an exhaustive search, if all oils produce this toxin at high heat or just certain oils. According to ChowHound, the field is narrowed down to rapeseed, soybean, peanut oil and lard. Thankfully I don’t cook with these oils for many health reasons other than Acrolien. So now that you’ve read this, my suggestion would be to replace with coconut or olive oil.