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Ten Tips to Improve Indoor Air Quality

If you don’t use a toxic chemical in the first place, then you don’t have to contain it, clean it up, or be exposed to it—which is what preventing pollution is all about. Follow these tips to reduce your
exposure to toxic chemicals and create a safer and healthier indoor living environment for you and your family.

1) Household Cleaners: Look for labels that divulge ALL of the cleaner’s chemicals. Be sure to avoid using cleaners that contain these suspect hormone disrupter chemicals:
Nonyl- and octyl-phenols are used to make alkylphenol ethoxylate (APE) detergents.

2) Disinfectants. Limit the use of disinfecting products in your home. They contain chemical agents that are capable of destroying or inhibiting the growth of microorganisms. Overuse could lead to the growth of ‘superbugs.’ The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies disinfectants and antimicrobials as pesticides.

3) Lawn Care and Pests: Children and pets in particular are exposed to pesticides tracked inside homes from lawn treatments. Pesticide exposure also occurs from using off-the-shelf pest repellents. Use organic lawn care methods like mowing high and adding topsoil. To get rid of pests, remove food sources, use boric acid and traps.

4) Vinyl Floor and Wall Coverings: Flexible vinyl household products like flooring and wallpaper are manufactured using PVC that may have toxic chemical additives including phthalate plasticizers and lead. As these products are used, they create dusts that accumulate these chemicals. Choose non-PVC wall and floor coverings to minimize potential exposure to these toxins.

5) Building Materials: Plywood, oriented strand board, kitchen cabinets and home insulation are all products that can contain formaldehyde, a known human cancer-causing chemical. Choose solid woods and formaldehyde-free insulation when constructing or renovating your home.

6) Personal Care and Beauty Products: Choose products that are fragrance free and reduce your use of nail polish and acetone nail polish remover. If you do use these products, be sure to open your windows.

7) Dry Cleaning: Ask your dry cleaner if they offer safer alternatives such as liquid carbon dioxide or “wet cleaning” rather than the commonly used cleaner perchloroethylene, a suspected cancer-causing chemical.