Many people think of air pollution as only being a problem when you step outside. But the fact is, it can be just as big of a problem inside your home. Many normal household products emit volatile organic compounds or VOCs that can cause problems like headaches, rashes, nausea and eye and throat irritations. These irritants can be particularly harmful to children who breathe faster than we do as adults. Babies are at a particularly higher risk because they are closer to the ground where the heavier contaminants hang in the air.
The eye and throat irritations typically come after carpeting is installed. Not only can the carpeting cause problems but also the padding and adhesive that is used. If you are planning to have carpeting installed in your home, choose a low-VOC product and ask the installers to unroll it several days beforehand to allow it to air out. Make arrangements to stay somewhere else while the carpet is being installed and keep your home well-ventilated for several days after the installation. If your children are prone to allergies or have been diagnosed with asthma, consider using other flooring options.
Paint and paint strippers are another pair of harmful pollutants that are found in the home. When you paint, again, use a low-VOC paint and keep the windows open during your painting party and after while the paint dries completely. Don’t store paint cans because gases can leak even if the cans are sealed. If you do have to store the containers keep them away from your main living areas.
Another area that can cause problems is Teflon. Using cookware with the nonstick abilities can release fumes into the air when they are exposed to very high temperatures. Avoid these problems by not using these products in the oven or on the high setting on top of your stove.
Finally, craft supplies can also be an issue. When your kids are feeling crafty you don’t have to tell them no, just head outside or to a well-ventilated area to let them create their masterpieces. Fumes from markers, glue, paint and other supplies can not only cause headaches but also eye nose and throat irritations as well.
Simple measures can be taken to minimize the dangers you expose your children to – be careful and cautious and keep your children healthy.