Many people seeking relief for allergic conditions such as asthma, allergies and sinusitis have a general idea of their prime triggers. The usual suspects include dust, pets, mold and pollen, but a growing number of doctors and scientists believe that airborne chemicals may also aggravate allergic diseases.
The Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology recommends that those with allergic conditions try to avoid harsh chemicals that may aggravate or even trigger asthma or allergy symptoms - unfortunately that may be a daunting task.
Many of the thousands of products used in our homes and workplaces everyday are either made from or packaged with synthetic chemicals. Surprisingly, only 10% of the 100,000 registered synthetic chemicals in commercial use in the U.S. have been thoroughly screened for their toxicity. Scientists have only begun to uncover the possible links between chemical exposure and human health, but there are number of ways to reduce your chemical exposure:
Change the way you clean
Cleaning products are a major source of indoor air pollution and can easily irritate already sensitive airways. Fortunately, there are now numerous plant-based or enzyme cleaners available, many of which are just as effective as their chemical counterparts in removing germs, stains and freshening fabrics and surfaces.
Make your Bedroom a Sanctuary
We spend a third of our lives sleeping, but few of us know what we're sleeping with. People are often surprised to learn that many mattresses are made with petroleum-based polyurethane foam and are routinely treated with chemical flame retardants (now detectable in the bodies of most Americans).
To reduce the chemical load in your bedroom choose organic bedding or avoid sheets sets labeled “wrinkle-free”, which are often treated with formaldehyde. When washing your bedding choose “green” or fragrance-free detergents and skip the fabric-softener, which not only coats your sheets with chemicals, but prevents the cotton from breathing as it should.
When considering a new mattress look for organic cotton or those made from natural latex, which are not only chemical-free but are naturally resistant to dust mites.
Protect the Air Your Breathe
Just like the well-known triggers such as dust and pollen, many chemical irritants enter the body through the air. Unfortunately, due to the wide-ranging sources of chemical air pollution, these synthetic triggers are not as easy to avoid. When planning your prevention strategy, consider an air cleaner which offers an extra stage of filtration to remove airborne chemicals, gases and odors. The most effective is activated carbon, recognized by the EPA as a safe and effective method for removing pollutants. In the case of a carbon filter, the most important factor is the depth of the filter. The deeper the filter, the more effective it will be at trapping airborne chemicals. This type of carbon filter coupled with a good quality, medical-grade HEPA filter, will offer the most comprehensive protection against airborne chemicals and allergens.
This article was contributed by Stephanie MacGillis an Air Quality Specialist with AllerAir industries.
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