We spend on average about 90% of our time indoors. And while there is tremendous focus on what goes into our bodies (and rightly so), the environment we live and breath in most of the time is often overlooked. Many are surprised to learn their homes are packed with toxins directly related to many diseases and even cancer. The good news is it doesn’t have to be difficult. There are simple ways to have a healthier home. Here are 10 ways to get started today.
1. Remove Your Shoes
It’s not just the dirt and grime kept out of your house when shoes are removed at the door. Researchers have found our shoes carry all sorts of ugly and toxic characters that then make their way into our homes.
40% of shoes in one study tested positive for the “C.diff” bacterium (a bacterium that causes diarrhea and colitis and almost half a million illnesses in the United States each year); 421,000 differing bacteria were found; E.coli & coliform were also seen on 96% of the shoes.
The bacteria can live a long time and transfer onto our home flooring surfaces. Those shoes also trek in pesticides, fertilizers and allergens which then all make their way through your home including into the air. And don’t forget to add those entry mats at each door. (1,2)
2. Improve Air Quality
Air is the one thing we interact with continuously and depend on to live. And yet, most times we do not give much thought to the air we breath inside our homes. However, indoor air has been shown to be 25 - 45% more toxic than outdoor air.
In our quest to be more energy efficient we have tamped down the flow of air even more and trap pollutants inside with us. The best place to start is by reducing indoor allergens (those brought in by our shoes, emitted through allergens and products used for cleaning, personal care, etc).
A simple way to improve your indoor air quality is to open your windows more often. Let the air ventilate through the house. Another way is to add air purifying plants to your home. And, adding an air purifier is also a great investment in improving air quality. Look for one that is high efficiency and includes HEPA filtration, like this one.
3. Choose Healthy Cookware
Those beloved non-stick pans make cleaning a cinch and they also commonly contain chemicals that leach into your food when heated and / or when the coating is scratched.
These pans also release toxic fumes upon heating. Labels adorn most non-stick pans (that we often overlook) warning to not heat on high and avoid scratching. With just a few minutes at high heat the coating starts to breaks down and we then ingest these chemicals.
Good news is there are options. Look for cookware that is free of PFAS, PFOA (a carcinogenic chemical released when PFAs are heated), lead and cadmium.
4. Go Glass
Most plastics are made with BPA, a toxic compound to human health. BPA has been found to be an endocrine disrupter contributing to myriad diseases and health conditions such as cancer, asthma, ADHD, obesity, Diabetes among others. Plastics also contain other chemical leaching compounds.
Glass, however, has long been revered as the ultimate in food storage as it will not leach chemicals into