Toxins in the home you would never suspect.

I was having a coffee in a popular restaurant with LOTS of windows. Rather than cleaning all of the other windows, the employee decided to clean the one right next to me.  My immediate reaction was a sneeze, quickly followed by itchy eyes.  This made me think of the seemingly harmless items which are toxins in the home and may make us unwell.

Gas cookers and heaters produce large amounts of carbon monoxide which can be lethal. They also emit other harmful gases such as carbon dioxide, nitric oxide and sulphur dioxide.  Gas heaters which are not properly vented to the outside also release gases so should never be used in a closed room.

Another common source of carbon-monoxide fumes are those escaping from chimney when wood or coal is burned in a fire place.  Many chimneys are badly designed or leak gases which allow toxins in the home.

Microwave ovens pose a risk of radiation if doors are ill-fitting.  Fridges and air-conditioners release CFC’s from the coolant system.

Other Hiding Toxins

  1. Foam filling in chairs, cushions, pillows, mattresses can contain polyurethane, which is a serious fire hazard.
  2. Adhesives used in furniture assembly produce formaldehyde and toxic vapours.  
  3. Plaster and cement may emit formaldehyde and paints, varnishes, stains and wallpapers may emit toxic vapours especially while drying. They also contain fungicides and insecticides.
  4. Metal paint can give off toxic fumes and leaking metal from lead pipes can affect water.
  5. Roof timbers may emit resin vapours and insulation can produce formaldehyde mineral fibres. 

Many homes are also full of toxic cleaning products, beauty products and even candles containing synthetic fragrance.  Aerosols emit CFC’s as well. 

Toxins such as formaldehyde, ammonia, acetone lead to health problems such as headaches, drowsiness, irritation to nose and throat, breathing difficulties and nausea. Long term exposure may lead to chronic disease. 

What to do about toxins in the home

If people are concerned about indoor pollution, they can now purchase a carbon monoxide detector.  This is now a requirement for Airbnb properties to have a ‘Family’ badge.  Airbnb is actually providing detectors for those properties as they deem it a safety requirement.

Ideally, replacing synthetic with natural fibres for soft furnishings, using solid wood, rattan, bamboo for furniture. Replacing toxic household items with natural options.  Utilising toxic free paint and finishes.  

Using plants in the home is another way to help with indoor pollution and pure essential oils are a great way to eliminate toxic cleaning products and beauty products.

The other option is to have the space assessed by a Holistic Interior Stylist, who will guide the above process. This is far more commonplace in the UK and the States and just emerging in Australia. 

For more information or to book an assessment for toxins in the home, contact me here.