At Ecosparkle, we believe that clean just isn’t clean unless it’s good for the planet too!
This week, our Green Clean Team has put together a list of some of the big contributors to poor indoor air quality, and included some suggestions for dealing with them – helping you breathe a little easier!
Finally – a chance at fresh air!
The days are getting longer, the temperature is (finally) getting a little higher, and any day now we’ll get the chance to leave the windows open for more than a few minutes without doubling the heating bill. That’s definitely a good thing, because the air inside most homes is far worse than the air outside.
There are several factors that contribute to poor indoor air quality, such as:
- Poor circulation and dirty ducts
- improper cleaning and failure to remove dust buildup from underneath and around furniture
- High temperature cooking, combined with insufficient exhaust hoods & venting
Yet, some of the biggest contributors to indoor air pollution are also those items that bring us the most comfort. You may even be sitting on one now.
In the list below, we’ve included some of our top offenders for indoor air pollution – along with some tips and alternatives you can put to use in order to improve your homes air quality.
Unfortunately, it’s true – and what’s worse, we’ll spend as much as a third of our lives on one (you are getting your eight hours, aren’t you?).
The problem with most household mattresses stems from the fact that they’re made with primarily synthetic materials – from ‘memory’ foam, to the potent flame-retardants that are used to keep them from going up-in-smoke. These materials create many Volatile Organic Compounds (some as many as 61!) – otherwise known as VOC’s – that off-gas into the air we breath, leading to many health hazards (including increased chances of respiratory disease).
The good news is that there are many reasonably priced, green alternatives that can eliminate this problem altogether.
For your next mattress purchase, consider opting for a natural latex option that’s wrapped in natural fibres, or an organic mattress made with natural materials such as the great options offered here.
Prices generally begin close to $1000 for a latex mattress, but – considering how much time you’ll spend lying against it – that investment is a drop in the bucket, if it means you’ll be sleeping and breathing a little easier!
Another household favourite and – unfortunately – another indoor air pollution source.
The reasons here are much the same as conventional mattresses; couches are often made from petrochemical-based materials, from the foam to the fabric. Furthermore, they’re often framed around engineered woods such as MDF, which is filled with off-gassing glue-substances (including formaldehyde). They’re also typically treated with flame-retardant chemicals, which are anything but comfortable.
The good news is that there are manufacturers out there who cater to the more environmentally conscious.
One of our favourites is Brentwood Classics, a local Canadian producer that builds excellent contemporary furniture while keeping the chemical-cocktail to a minimum.
They’re products are made with soy-based poly foam, which boasts greater sustainability than typical petro-chemical based options. They’re also completely free of flame-retardant chemicals – a definitely plus as far as air-quality is concerned.
Computers & Tech Equipment (and other Plastic products)
Another household essential, and yet another source of indoor air pollution. The problem is that these products are typically manufactured using PVC (polyvinyl chloride) which off-gasses pthalates – a known endocrine disrupter that interferes with proper hormonal function in the body – amongst other undesirables like arsenic and mercury.
Again, like the furniture sources mentioned above, many technology products are also sources for flame-retardant based pollutants.
Unfortunately, finding good alternatives in this sector isn’t easy. The fact is, many of our favourite gadgets are far from green. Yet, we can mitigate the risks by keeping our equipment in a well ventilated room. We can also look for products that are leaders in their category.
Apple, with their Macbook line, are one such leader. Their Macbooks are advertised as “the world’s greenest family of notebooks” – based on their commitment to energy efficiency, and their reduction in the use of common chemicals such as PVC, brominated-flame retardants, mercury and arsenic. We’re glad to see them taking some initiative, and hope many more technology companies follow suit.
For the air we breathe…
We hope you enjoyed this week’s tip, and hope it helps you eliminate some sources of poor air quality in your home. Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments down below!
We’d love to help you discover the Green Clean difference in your home, office or retail space!
We’ve got 6 years of experience finding the perfect natural and organic, eco-friendly cleaning solutions for our customers, and have been voted ‘Best Cleaning Company’ 6 years in a row in the ‘Era Banner Reader’s Choice Survey’ right here in the York Region and the Greater Toronto Area!