5 Steps to a Healthier Home

Want a healthier home? Toxins in your house– from your mattress to your ceilings– may be responsible for dozens of common ailments, from everyday fatigue to serous illnesses such as cancer. Fortunately, these simple steps can help you make your home greener, safer and healthier.

1. Don’t smoke indoors. It goes without saying that you’ll have a healthier home if you smoke outdoors (or not at all). Secondhand smoke threatens not only your own health, but also the health of those around you. It can weaken immune systems, trigger asthma, increase the risk of cancer, and even cause sudden death in young children. If you want a healthy home, take your butt outside.

2. Use non-toxic cleaners. Common household cleaners can increase the risk of cancer, infertility, infant death, miscarriage and learning disabilities. Clean your house the nontoxic way to make your home healthier. Use baking soda, vinegar, essential oils and good old-fashioned water to keep your house clean without the toxic effects of harsh chemical cleansers.

3. Skip the carpet. Carpet isn’t just a pain in the butt to clean, it’s also a potential health hazard. Your carpet may contain harsh synethetic compounds, including formaldehyde, which is a known carcinogen. Carpet will also collect large amounts of dust and mold, which may not be removed, even with regular vacuuming. Ideally, choose a healthier home by having hardwood or bamboo floors instead of carpet. Real floors also save energy; a broom is powered by elbow-grease, while a vacuum cleaner needs electricity.

4. Be cautious of lead paint. If your home has lead paint, Do NOT try to remove it yourself. Do, however, paint over it. Lead paint is a major cause of brain damage in young children, who may eat chips of paint and then suffer irreparable central nervous system damage. A healthier home would include sustainably sourced low-VOC paints, which are more expensive but significantly less toxic. Also be cautious with any sealants and treatments used to preserve paint.

5. Test for radon. The second leading cause of lung cancer, after cigarette smoke, is radon. This colorless, odorless gas gives you no warning signs until you develop cancer. Make your home healthier by testing your home for levels of radon gas. Test kits are available for as little as $15 to ensure that your home is free of this poisonous gas. If your home does contain radon, several methods can help to draw it out of your home.

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