Your home is your safe haven. It’s a space where you bring up your family and create lots of lasting memories. To ensure our homes remain safe and free from toxins it is worth understanding some of the risks associated with toxic home syndrome.
Toxic home syndrome is caused by toxins within our homes reaching high levels which contribute to a variety of health problems.
Toxic home syndrome has been linked to respiratory conditions as well as cancer and heart disease so action taken to lower the number of toxins within your home can only be beneficial. Even the water you drink from the tap has the potential to be contaminated by chemicals and toxins. Substances used for agricultural purposes can leach into the drinking water system. To combat this you could consider installing drinking water filtration systems.
A major toxin found within our homes is formaldehyde. It is a chemical used frequently during manufacturing processes.
What is formaldehyde?
Although formaldehyde is a compound that is naturally produced by our body and is found in our food and environment, it is also used commercially. Formaldehyde is used for it’s preserving qualities and is even found in products produced for use with babies.
Why does formaldehyde affect health?
As formaldehyde occurs naturally it would be easily assumed that it is safe. However, problems occur when levels rise to unsafe levels. Certain products and lifestyle choices contribute to this rise in levels and an increase in formaldehyde can cause breathing difficulties, irritation to the eyes, nose, throat and ultimately cancer.
Cause of formaldehyde in the home
The list of products within a home which could potentially contain formaldehyde is astonishingly long. Houses that have been recently built are at risk of having even higher levels, due to better insulation, which means lower air circulation. Formaldehyde is present in carpets, paint, wooden floors, laminate floors, furniture and cleaning products.
Formaldehyde is also present in car exhausts and gas cookers. Lifestyle choices such as smoking also increases risk of exposure.
Action to take in order to lower formaldehyde levels
Adopting a greener more ecological lifestyle can actually help to lower formaldehyde levels. This is because the formaldehyde emitted by furniture, floors, and carpets stop being emitted after around two years. Buying second-hand furniture or not replacing furnishings too often will lower levels and waste.
When buying new furniture look for manufacturing processes which doesn’t use formaldehyde. It is important to wash fabrics such as sheets and clothing when new as formaldehyde is likely to have been used to preserve the items.
Allow fresh air to circulate your home regularly by opening the windows. This is especially important during the winter months when heating appliances are used. When you buy new items unwrap them in the outdoors and let them “air” before bringing them into your home. If an item has a strong chemical smell it could contain potentially harmful toxins.