Healthy Home Air Quality
The Hollies had a hit single with this song the year I was born.
It felt appropriate today. But not in a good way.
Horrified by the devastating new story yesterday I felt compelled to bang my drum for healthy homes today.
It was bad enough to hear of the poor little girl in Lewisham (SE London) a few years ago. She died of asthma complications.
The coroner directly attributed her death to the constant exposure to the air pollution on her doorstep. She lived on a main road, as so many of us do.
Having lived in the Lewisham borough (down the road in sunny Deptford) for the best part of a decade, it really hit home.
Local Air Quality
I found this website recently (addresspollution.org) that rates your postcode as a percentile of the UK.
My Deptford postcode ranked 96%.
Bad enough, you think, except I worked on Oxford Street, which maybe unsurprisingly was rated 99%.
I lived and worked for a decade in the most polluted top 4% of the UK.
9 years I lived there, during my 20s and 30s. Thank goodness it was way before having kids.
So outdoor pollution is a problem.
Here in Bristol, my address is now 76%, compared to the rest of the UK. It’s not great, is it?
We are bringing in a clean air zone shortly. I hope for, but am not relying on, its success. I will watch and wait.
Meanwhile, we spend 90%, on average, of our lives indoors.
Here in the UK, it’d be nice to think that meant we were safe.
That’s what we say isn’t it?
But this obviously is sadly not the case.
A 2019 Clean Air Day study showed that on average, the air quality within an average UK home was 350% more polluted than outside.
I’ll say it again.
350% more polluted inside UK homes than outside.
And that’s just the average. It actually ranged up to 5600%.
Astonishing and frightening in equal measure, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Unhealthy Homes Can Kill
I could cry for the poor parents of the little boy on the news last night.
His home was covered in mould. The coroner had confirmed a direct link cause between the mould spores and his unavoidable death at the age of 2.
Every parent’s heart broke just then.
It’s unacceptable to live like this. Anywhere. But in the UK? In 2022?
My last employed role was for a social housing company. I have only good things to say about them, however, and the way they treated their tenants.
With compassion and respect.
They cared about their staff too, and that kind of integrity and ethical standards are sadly hard to come by in companies these days. They deserved their gold investors of people award and I was proud to represent them.
But I digress.
Homes need to be healthy spaces.
I keep banging my drum, I know, but I am on a mission.
And it feels ever more important.
Before we get to the horrendous picture of mouldy walls and ceilings that we were shown on the news, there’s still much work to be done.
Creating good airflow and ventilation is key.
We need to be comfortable as well, and colder weather can cause issues when heating is a problem. Financially of course, in particular, this year, but also from a mould and condensation perspective.
Dust and mould spores form part of a series of toxins and pollutants that we find in modern homes. These can cause, as confirmed again yesterday, a myriad of health conditions.
From skin and respiratory ailments and serious illness to mental health problems.
It’s serious, but maybe not given the importance it should.
There are so many sources of other airborne particle pollution in our homes.
From off-gassing created by plastics and man-made fibres, VOCs in paint and other materials, toxins released from cooking and toasters to radiation from microwaves.
That’s not even getting started on chemical cleaning products, synthetic beauty products, and the like.
Or even mentioning EMF disturbances and geopathic stress as a topic.
But all these elements combined can create a toxic environment, which you may not ever be consciously aware of.
Make sure that furniture is kept away from external walls in particular.
I once lived in a flat in Falmouth, Cornwall over winter.
I had free-standing ikea wardrobes (stolmen for those who remember or who use google!) which basically were supported on stainless steel scaffolding tubes.
When I moved out, just 4 months later, the shoes on the floor under the unit were all mouldy. Some were 3m away from the external wall, but the mould had spread right along the row.
The back of my sofa had been touching the wall and the whole wall was black. Yuck.
Now it’s hard to remember how my health was at the time, but I know it won’t have done me any good at all.
In feng shui the windows and doors are the eyes and mouth of a building.
Clear pathways and windowsills to let light and fresh air in. Consider ventilation as much as possible. Even trickle vents or opening the window on the latch will all help.
Clean your windows regularly. Lemon juice and newspaper will do perfectly – you don’t need any nasty chemical sprays.
Making A Difference
We live in a different world now and it’s frightening.
We can see the changes our world is undergoing, and it feels like it’s all coming too fast.
Tornadoes, floods, famine, forest fires are getting so much closer to home.
It’s hard to think that we can make a difference.
But we must.
So what can we do to help ourselves, individually and as a planet?
Well, we can start at home.
The best place to start.
We’re so busy buying stuff.
The latest technology. Cheap trend-led items made from man-made materials.
Do we know or care what it’s made from, how it’s made, or who by?
Were the materials sustainably sourced?
Were the producers treated fairly or ethically and paid appropriately for their work?
How was it packaged? Transported? What’s the carbon footprint?
I won’t always know the questions either, but are you even asking them? Of yourself?
Is it even on your radar? (I’m not here to scold you by the way!)
Whether buying cleaning products or new furniture, just stop and think before making your purchase.
– Is it good for you?
– Do you really need it?
– Is it sustainable?
– Built to last?
Having these thoughts when you’re shopping can help to put impulse purchases into perspective.
For more ways to create a more sustainable, healthy home, including a list of nasties to avoid, download my free guide here below.
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