We all know about the dangers of outdoor air pollution, but do you know about the potentially harmful chemicals in the air at home? The experts from Aqdot give us the facts
Our health is most important to us. With growing awareness of the effects of indoor air pollution on our family health, one of the key areas to look at is the usage of fragrances in our homes.
Most of us enjoy fragrances, whether they are in scented candles, air fresheners, personal care products, or home cleaning and laundry products. What we don’t really think about, or realise, is the effect that these fragrances can have on our family’s health.
Nearly 5.5 million people in the UK receive treatment for asthma, according to Asthma UK, including about 1.1 million children. And, with more of us making our homes as air-tight as possible to be more energy-conscious and environmentally friendly, this can exacerbate the potential risks of
fragrances on our health.
Recent research published in the American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine found regular use of cleaning sprays has an impact on lung health comparable with smoking a pack of cigarettes every day. The research followed more than 6,000 people over a 20 year period and found women in particular suffered significant health problems after long-term use of these products.
Fragrances release VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) that can be damaging to our health. In our homes, VOCs are also released from synthetic paints, cigarette smoke, new furniture and building materials, as well as from natural sources, like fungi/mould. They can cause
minor issues like headaches and irritation, as well as major long-term health implications that are linked to cancer.
So, what can we do to reduce our risk to indoor air pollutant VOCs?
1. If someone at home is a cigarette smoker, ask them to smoke outside, or not at all. This will not only be a nicer smoke-free environment for everyone, it will also keep the VOC benzene that is released from cigarette smoke, out of the house.
2. On a daily basis, we can consciously reduce the use of fragrances and choose products that are fragrance-free. We found a team of ex-Cambridge University scientists who have developed a ground-breaking technology that has the potential to revolutionise household and personal care products. Their molecule can capture odours and some VOCs in the home, thus making the need for fragrance redundant.
They have recently launched their first product Oderase ™ which effectively removes odours from the air and from fabrics without any need for fragrance. They say it will be able to be used in all household and personal care products in the future.
3. When re-decorating at home choose paints that are VOC and solvent free. Allergy UK is a great source of reference to find paints that are asthma and allergy friendly.
4. After purchasing new flooring or furniture that is not 100 percent natural wood, try to keep the rooms well ventilated for the first weeks and months after purchase.
5. Keep your home free from damp, as fungi generates natural VOCs that can negatively impact on family health.
So, in summary, with a heightened awareness of indoor air quality, there are some positive steps we can take to look after ourselves and our loved ones. It’s simply a case of making informed, conscious choices so that we are creating a home environment that is both enjoyable and more healthy.
Dr Francys Fernandez, Aqdot Ltd
Oderase™ is a fragrance-free odour remover that uses UK-based Aqdot’s patented AqBit™ technology to capture odours and some VOCs from the air and fabrics. It is so effective at clearing odours that no fragrance is needed. It is available as a Bathroom odour eraser spray and a spray for Open Plan Kitchen and Living Areas, on Ocado and www.oderase.co.uk