Living close to fresh breezes off the ocean, both Long Island Sound and Nantucket Harbor, means I regularly enjoy brisk, clean air when I am outside. As a designer and proponent of healthy living, I want all of us to enjoy the same feeling of pristine air inside our homes as well.
A product that I use in my own home, and recommend to friends and clients, is the HealthMate+ from Austin Air Filters, Inc. This filter is enhanced to offer the ultimate in air filtration, making it an ideal choice for those with chemical sensitivities. A medical filter uses solid activated carbon and zeolite impregnated with potassium iodide to remove harmful gases, in addition to dust, pollen and pet dander.
Austin Air Systems, Limited was recently chosen by the National Sleep Foundation to make a new filter specifically for the bedroom, to be used while sleeping. The Bedroom Machine removes particulates that can be seen by the naked eye, like dust and pet dander, along with molds, spores, pollen and chemical gases such as sulfuric acid and ammonia.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America rates indoor air quality as one of the top five environmental health risks, which means that I recommend doing more than just opening the windows from time to time. Indoor air can harbor a number of irritants, from smoke particulates to pollen. Other chemicals such as formaldehyde from particleboard cabinets and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from paints and finishes can also be present.
A study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine found that using High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters for just two days removed 60 percent of air particulates and improved cardiovascular health in non-smoking adults. To be sold as a HEPA air filtration system, the air filter must remove 99.97% of all particles larger than 0.3 microns.
Five more things you can do to ensure clean indoor air:
• Turn on your fan while cooking, especially with gas stoves.
• Use green cleaning methods instead of heavy chemicals for housekeeping.
• Choose “green” dry cleaners that use only non-toxic cleaning products.
• Don’t wear shoes indoors. Shoes track in pesticides and chemicals, which then become trapped in carpet fibers.
• Use low or no-VOC paints and finishes in your home.
Take a deep breath and resolve to do at least one, if not more, of these suggestions. Your heart and lungs will thank you.