E.W., SELF magazine
We spend most of our time inside, breathing air that can be even dirtier than the air outside. Check out the sneakiest indoor pollution sources, and learn how to scour them out.
Your foundation: In some homes, radon, a radioactive gas, can seep into the foundation-even if you don't have a basement. Radon may be responsible for up to 22,000 lung cancer deaths each year and may factor into squamous cell carcinoma (a type of skin cancer), too.
Clear the air: Buy a test kit (about $12). If you find a problem, the EPA suggest hiring a contractor trained in radon problems to help seal cracks in the foundation and increase ventilation. The fix costs about $1,200, but it's a sound health investment.
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Your vacuum: "All vacuums throw dust particles into the air, but those without a HEPA filter throw more," says allergist James Sublett, M.D., chairman of the American College of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology Indoor Environment Committee.
Clear the air: Go to AsthmaAndAllergyFriendly.com for brand recommendations. Whatever you use, don't vacuum the bedroom for two hours pre-sleep: "Give the floating particles a chance to settle down before you spend time in the room," Dr. Sublett says.
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Your stove: Up to a third of indoor particles can come from cooking, Dr. Sublett says-especially when done at high temps, It can even release formaldehyde, which can cause cancer.
Clear the air: Equip your stove with a fan that vents to the outside, and if you can't, open a window. Both will help you rid your kitchen of pollutants and moisture.
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Your cleaning products: Traditional cleaners are clearly irritating, but those advertised as green or natural may be as well. And pine and citrus oils contain chemicals called terpenes, which interact with ozone in the air to produce formaldehyde.
Clean the air: Use the minimum amount of whatever you use (we like Clorox's Green Works, which carries the EPA's safer-product label), and ventilate.
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E.W., SELF magazine
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