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Five Tips for a Healthy Home

Learn ways to improve your indoor air quality.

Americans spend more than 90 percent of their time indoors, so a home environment free of contaminants is important to our health. Below are five things you can do to improve your home's indoor air quality:

  1. Test your home for Radon: This radioactive gas comes from the natural decay of uranium and can be found in nearly all soils. It typically moves through the ground and into your home through cracks and holes in the walls, floors, and foundation. Any home can have a high radon level. To learn more about testing your home, go to www.ugaradon.com.
  2. Keep indoor humidity below 60 percent: Excessive humidity can lead to mold growth, which can trigger asthma episodes in some sensitive individuals. Reduce the humidity in your home by using exhaust fans when bathing or cooking; vent the clothes dryer to the outside; and do not over water houseplants. Purchase a humidistat to track the humidity level in your home. 
  3. Reduce the use of synthetic air fresheners: Studies have shown that some plug-in air fresheners emit up to 20 volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including seven that are regulated as toxic or hazardous under federal laws. Synthetic fragrances can lead to respiratory problems for some individuals. To reduce VOCs in your home, use natural air fresheners, open the windows and let in fresh air in when possible, stop using aerosol sprays, and switch to green cleaning products. 
  4. Make your home a no smoking area: Researchers have found that secondhand smoke increases a child's risk of asthma, cancer, sudden infant death syndrome, and ear and respiratory infections. The smoke from cigarettes contains more than 4,000 chemicals. Not allowing smoking indoors is the best way to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke. 
  5. Stop dirt, pesticides, and other pollutants in their tracks: Keep from tracking these pollutants into your home by placing a doormat in front of all exterior doors and leaving your shoes at the door.

For more tips on improving your indoor environment, contact Ines Beltran with the Cooperative Extension Service at inesb@uga.edu or go to www.ugagreenway.com.

Source: Gwinnett County

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