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Natural Awakenings North Central New Jersey

Controlling Indoor Air Pollution

 Controlling Indoor Air Pollution


According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air pollution can be as high as, or even higher than, outdoor levels. Because we spend about 90 percent of our time indoors, ambient air quality can impact anyone’s health, but seniors, children and people with health conditions like asthma and heart disease are more vulnerable.

Some pollutants come from outside; others originate indoors through cooking, cleaning, smoking, building materials, consumer products and furnishings. Common contaminants include formaldehyde, mold and pollen. Consider these measures to maintain a healthy, fresh-air environment inside the dwelling. 

Ventilate the Home

Open non-street-facing windows for 15 minutes every day to let fresh air in. Even if it’s colder or hotter outdoors, indoor air quality will improve, and the temperature will adjust quickly. The best times to ventilate are before 10 a.m. and after 9 p.m., when outdoor pollution is lowest. 

Air quality alerts for particulates from forest fires or heavy smog may indicate skipping ventilation. To expel pollutants, use bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans, or position a fan to blow out of a window. Ventilate rooms when painting or engaging in maintenance and hobbies that use noxious chemicals.

Filter the Air

High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters fitted into heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems remove pollutants throughout the house, including dust, pollen, mold and bacteria. Portable air cleaners known as HEPA air purifiers can sanitize a single room or area. For more information, visit

Clean Surfaces

To reduce airborne, allergy-causing agents, including dust mites, pollen, animal dander and dust (comprised of dead skin, soil, fungal spores and chemicals), houseclean regularly. Use a vacuum with HEPA filtration and strong suction. Wet-wipe and wet-mop surfaces with reusable, compostable materials like washable cotton, hemp or wool. Avoid petroleum-based microfiber, which releases microplastics. Mops with bamboo or metal handles are more eco-friendly and longer lasting than plastic types.

Avoid Introducing Pollutants

Remove shoes at the door to prevent tracking in pesticides from green spaces and infectious bacteria from public restrooms, healthcare buildings or foodservice facilities. 

Replace chemical-ridden air fresheners, body perfumes and bug sprays with low-toxicity, DIY or commercial products that use essential oils and plant-based ingredients. Choose cleaning products certified or recommended by Green Seal (, EcoLogo ( or the EWG Guide to Healthy Cleaning (

Make sure new furnishings and remodeling materials don’t contain lead, asbestos, flame retardants, volatile organic compounds or perfluorinated chemicals. Choose Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood furniture and Global Organic Textile Standard-certified textiles. For more tips, visit

5 Top Tips to Finding Your Next Doctor

1 Keep an Open Mind! Healthcare has come a long way. Today, you have access to practitioners that branch outside of traditional medicine and aim to identify the root causes of conditions while using alternative treatments that may help you get the relief you need. Just because it’s not a pill, doesn’t make it pseudoscience.

2 Build Your Health Care Team. There is no one doctor that can be the be-all-end-all for your health needs. Be sure to have a team of practitioners with different “lenses” and areas of expertise who will treat the root cause and not just the symptom(s).

3   Environment Influences Healing. Health is multi-factorial. Your mental and emotional environment plays a pivotal role in your healing potential. Your doctors and their staff should create an office atmosphere filled with positivity so you can get the most out of your care.

4 Your Story Matters.  Before you begin any treatment, be sure to have a comprehensive consultation to discuss your health concerns. Find practitioners who welcome questions and will take the time to listen and treat you with respect.

5 Report of Findings. When it comes to our health, we often make decisions without understanding the risk versus benefits. Knowledge is an important part of the healing process and is essential to make conscious, informed health decisions. Find practitioners who take the time to explain their exam findings and the recommendations for treatment in ways that make sense to you.

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