As January becomes distant, the chatter surrounding resolutions declines. Many of the resolutions are made with an unbreakable confidence and focus on becoming healthier by regularly exercising, eating more mindfully, or a combination of the two. Although these resolutions and others like them are noble, people often forget about the smaller life adjustments that can impact overall health and well-being.
There are thousands of inhalations and exhalations involved in every healthy (and not-so-healthy) decision made this winter – the average person breathes in roughly 13 pints of air every single minute. As a result, it should come as no surprise that air quality can have major impacts on overall health. Americans spend roughly 90 percent of their time indoors making it important to stay mindful of air quality in the home and workplace this season.
Common Indoor Toxins
Radon: The radioactive gas, radon, is released through the natural decay of rocks in soil. Radon is an invisible, odorless, and tasteless gas which travels from the ground and diffuses into the air, even in the home. Radon particles can damage the cells that line the lungs if inhaled and long-term exposure to radon can result in lung cancer. Testing your home or office is the only way to determine if the spaces you inhabit have unsafe radon levels. The World Health Organization recommends that action should be taken if the radon levels exceed 100 becquerels (Bq), or 2.7 picocuries per liter (pCi/L).
Asbestos: The toxic fiber, asbestos, was primarily used in the construction of residential and commercial buildings between the 1940’s and 1980’s due to its affordability and insulating properties. If asbestos is disturbed, the particles become hazardous. Once inhaled, the fibers embed themselves in the lining of the lungs where mesothelioma cancer can develop. To prevent asbestos related diseases. it is important to become aware of materials which may contain asbestos.
Lead: Lead is often used to make batteries, ammunition, and other metal products. The naturally occurring material can also be found in products around the home, including paint, ceramics, pipes, plumbing materials, cosmetics and more. Exposure to lead affects almost all systems within the body. It is crucial to ensure that any lead products are out of a child’s reach. Young children often play with an assortment of objects, which may be contaminated with lead dust. If you do find lead products, isolate all sources of the toxin until removal is possible.
It’s common to become hyper-focused on just one goal for the new year. However, make the conscious choice to stay mindful of indoor air quality – and breathe a little easier this year!
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