Try This at Home
Pull the rug. When considering your next decorating venture, avoid wall-to-wall carpeting. Carcinogens tend to collect in carpet fibers. Instead, use area rugs—ideally, ones made from natural materials—that you can take outside to air and clean.
Choose vacuum cleaners that help minimize indoor pollution. If you do have wall-to-wall carpeting, consider a HEPA filter when vacuuming. Cleaners with a strong suction, a brush on/off switch, and a multilayered bag for dust collection are the best in preventing dust from recycling into the air.
Avoid tracking pollutants into your home. Pesticides and other toxics often enter homes tracked in with dust and dirt on the bottom of shoes. To minimize the spread of these pollutants, place a doormat on the outside of each entrance to your home and a rug on the inside of each entryway. Adopt the habit of removing your outdoor shoes upon entry and ask your guests to do the same.
Do not allow smoking in your home. Tobacco smoke is a substantial source of exposure to carcinogens.
Take daily measures to improve your indoor air quality. Open windows to ventilate your home. Vent your gas stove, broiler, grill, or fireplace to the outdoors, and avoid using wood-burning fireplaces and stoves. For details about protecting your indoor air, consult with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s extensive report, The Inside Story: A Guide to Indoor Air Quality.
Our homes are our havens. Yet indoor environments tend to be three to ten times more toxic than outdoor environments. A Silent Spring Institute study comparing two Northern California communities found that 32 compounds were found at higher levels in indoor air, while only two compounds were higher outdoors.
Chemicals build up indoors from a range of sources, from building materials to household cleaning supplies to personal care products. And those chemicals often stay: ventilation tends to be limited and chemicals degrade only slowly indoors, where they’re sheltered from sun, water, and temperature extremes.