New guide helps consumers breathe easier indoors
Americans spend as much as 90 percent of their time indoors. That’s why it’s more important than ever to think about indoor air quality and health.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has released an online guide to creating a healthier home, focusing on how chemicals in the indoor environment affect health and how making smart choices can make homes safer and greener. Whether remodeling a room, shopping for a new mattress or choosing cleaning products, the guide is designed to help consumers avoid bringing potentially harmful chemicals into their homes and workspaces.
Potential health hazards come from paints and finishes, furniture, carpets, cabinetry and products under the kitchen and bathroom sink,” said Tasha Stoiber, an EWG senior scientist and lead author of the “Healthy Living: Home Guide.” “These products and materials can release toxic chemicals into the air that also accumulate in household dust, which may lead to a host of health problems.”
Babies and children are especially vulnerable to health problems from exposure to toxic chemicals. “The Healthy Living: Home Guide” was designed to guide choices to reduce or eliminate exposures to toxic chemicals such as volatile organic compounds, flame retardants and phthalates.
Some risks from furnishings and products are unknown or not well-defined. When that’s the case, consumers should take precautions to replace questionable substances with preferable alternatives. With the guide, consumers can quickly find information on chemicals in building materials, furniture and cleaning products. It also includes information on air and water filters.
The guide provides suggestions for small changes like replacing air filters, cleaning supplies or water filters that can make a big difference, officials said.