Five of California's ten largest fires in modern history are burning all at once. The combined damage from these fires has caused the destruction of over 4,200 buildings, forced thousands of people to flee their homes and seared nearly 3.2 million acres of land. (MIT Technology Review) Another major concern is excess carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere that will only drive up the global temperature. To anyone that lives in one of these impacted areas, or even anyone who is watching, the dilemma is heartbreaking and obviously unsustainable. But, the question remains:
what is the solution?
While we cannot stop the fires, there are simple things that you can do to help improve the air quality in your home and protect your loved ones during this crisis. In this article, we will explain 5 simple ways to purify the air in your home.
Purchase an air purifier or try making a DIY one.
With the growing concerns about the air quality in California, the need for an in-house purifier has rapidly grown. These devices can " refresh stale air, reducing the chances of health issues caused by indoor pollutants, which can trigger respiratory infections, neurological problems, or aggravate symptoms in asthma sufferers." (Amerisleep) For many of us, purchasing a brand new purifier may not be feasible. If so, try your hand at some of the cool and creative DIY projects on how to get your perfect purifier right at home.
Set the mood with beeswax candles and salt lamps.
Did you know that beeswax candles are natural air purifiers? Yup! For our scented candle lovers, avoid paraffin candles which are made from petroleum and release more benzene, toluene and soot into the air. Beeswax candles ionize the air and neutralize toxic compounds. Plus, beeswax candles burn slowly so you don't need to replace them often. They are especially helpful for asthmatics and to remove common allergens like dust from the air.
A salt lamp is another great natural air purifier. Salt crystals tend to reduce airborne irritants, pathogens and allergens by pulling water vapor out of the air. A great natural ionic air purifier is Himalayan pink salt which pulls toxins from the environment and neutralizes them. Interestingly, salt lamps improve air purification much more when they are turned on, but surprisingly work when turned off too.
Start using activated charcoal.
Use activated charcoal, also referred to as active carbon as a natural air purifier. Its odorless and highly-absorptive properties work wonders with eliminating toxins from the air. You can also try bamboo charcoal.
Test out these air purifying diffuser blends.
Diffusers, while awesome for setting the vibe, possess powerful health benefits.
In the presence of essential oils like cinnamon, oregano, rosemary, thyme, grapefruit lemon, clove, tea tree - viruses, fungi, bacteria and even mold cannot survive. Depending on the mixture, they will help keep your home free from germs and purify the air. You can add it to soaps and detergents to breathe fresher, cleaner air. Here are some recipes to try:
Add these indoor plants to your space.
House plants are powerful because they can filter out harmful toxins and help keep the air clean. These stellar herbages have unique properties allowing them to purify the air around you. "Houseplants can purify and rejuvenate air within our houses and workplaces, safeguarding us from any side effects associated with prevalent toxins like ammonia, formaldehyde and also benzene." Introducing indoor plants to your space is the best way to counter the impact of pollution indoors, particularly if you have a family member with some respiratory illness. Scientists suggest that you have at least one plant per 100 square feet of home for efficient air cleaning to be accomplished. For ideas on what plants to get, check out the ones listed below!
Some honorable mentions include:
Spider Plants filter out Benzene and Xylene
Boston Ferns filter out Xylene acid, Toluene and Formaldehyde
Areca Palms filter out Benzene, Xylene, Ammonia, Formaldehyde and Trichloroethylene
Peace Lilies filter out Benzene, Xylene, Ammonia, Formaldehyde and Trichloroethylene
Bamboo Plants filter out Benzene, Xylene acid and Toluene
Weeping Figs filter out Benzene, Formaldehyde and Trichloroethylene
Snake Plants filter out Benzene and Formaldehyde
Why should you care?
Well, Benzene is a widely used industrial chemical that is naturally produced by volcanoes and forest fires. It is known to cause drowsiness, dizziness, rapid heart rates, headaches, tremors, confusion, and even unconsciousness when exposed at low levels.
Xylene is known to suppress the central nervous system when inhaled causing similar health effects.
Toluene naturally appears in crude oil and oil refining. When exposed to it, symptoms may include: irritation of the eyes and nose; weakness, exhaustion, confusion, euphoria, dizziness, headache; dilated pupils, lacrimation (discharge of tears); anxiety, muscle fatigue, insomnia; numbness or tingling of the skin; dermatitis.
Ammonia and formaldehyde are highly corrosive chemicals that often lead to coughing, and nose and throat irritation, respiratory distress, watery eyes; burning sensations in the eyes, nose, and throat; coughing; wheezing; nausea; and skin irritation.
Trichloroethylene is a solvent for de-greasing metal parts during the manufacture of a variety of products. Exposure to this chemical may cause headaches, dizziness, and sleepiness and even damage to the nerves in your face.
Some Last Minute Tips??
"Carpets are a toxic sponge. Clean them often. Especially the part of the carpeting near the entry of the house. According to an EPA study, if you use a doormat and take shoes off at the door - common toxins are reduced by about 60%."
"Eliminate excessive moisture, dust build-up and the use of chemical products like paint, detergents, and synthetic fibers. Side note: Say no to dry dusting! Use a damp cloth to clean up and to avoid breathing in all the dust particles which are lifted into the air while you clean."
"Resist the temptation to open windows and cool your home by using ceiling fans, heat-blocking window treatments and minimizing the use of heat-producing appliances."
Let us know which one of these #quicktips you eventually try out. Stay safe!
Until next time,
Uncover Knowledge That Lasts
The IA Team