Poor air quality has become a big worry in the UK. with its big cities repeatedly failing to meet air pollution targets. Experts estimate that up to half a million people die prematurely each year as a direct result of breathing this dirty air. Many don’t know, however, that the problem can be even worse within your home. This is sometimes known as Toxic Home Syndrome.
What is Toxic Home Syndrome?
Toxic Home Syndrome occurs when toxins in the air significantly reduce air quality in your home. It can have direct impacts on your health, and has been linked to respiratory conditions such as asthma. It is particularly prevalent in modern buildings, as improved insulation means pollutant-laden air is often sealed in.
What causes Toxic Home Syndrome?
There are certain things that can worsen air quality in your home and encourage the build-up of pollutants, bacteria and moisture. Mould is an obvious offender, but others are more surprising. Carpets trap particles within their fibres which are then released back into the air when disturbed. Many household items release carcinogenic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) too, such as aerosol sprays and dry-cleaned clothes.
What can I do to prevent Toxic Home Syndrome?
- Ventilate your home – Remember to open your windows or install a ventilation system to ensure fresh air supply.
- Install sheep wool insulation – The wool’s natural proteins absorb harmful and odorous substances including nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and formaldehydes and neutralises them through a process known as chemisorption.
- Use wooden floors instead of carpets – These will be easier to clean and will not harbour germs to the same extent.
- Decorate your home with eco paint – These are derived from natural ingredients, and are much less likely to emit harmful particles.