With cooler weather around the corner, many homeowners are taking measures to seal leaky windows and doors in order to conserve energy and guard against environmental pollutants.
But according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air can be up to five times more polluted than outdoor air, and contains everything from smog and allergens to mold spores and viruses.
“While it might sound simple to get some ‘fresh air,’ the reality is that it’s virtually non-existent in our homes and workplaces,” said Chris Gibson, director of air quality products for Humanscale. “Most of us assume that the indoor air we breathe is clean, but the truth is we’re simply not aware of the pollutants in our air and the associated threats to our health.”
And in fact, the EPA estimates that most people spend upwards of 80 percent of their time indoors -- either at home or at work.
Oftentimes people get headaches or sinus issues and attribute these symptoms to things such as stress or a change in the weather, when it actually may be the result of what they are breathing in.
Here are several air quality hazards to keep in mind, along with some easy remedies:
• Cleaning supplies: Harsh chemicals and toxins can be found in most household cleaners. So read the labels before you start scrubbing away.
All-natural cleaning supplies or ones meant for home use (not industrial use) are best.
Stronger chemicals, such as paints, solvents and industrial-strength cleaning supplies, should be stored in a garage or shed.
• Germs: Between your co-worker sneezing and bacteria lingering on a commonly used item, germs during cold and flu season are just waiting to be caught.
Be sure to wash hands frequently and to cough or sneeze into the nook of your elbow to help reduce the spread of these germs.
• Allergens: Regardless of the time of year, dust, pollen and other allergens are ever present in the air we breathe, often sticking to our clothes and furniture.
Air purifiers can help alleviate the symptoms caused by allergies.
Consider using a targeted air purifier that delivers clean air right where you breathe – at the head of your bed, near your computer at work, or by your favorite reading chair.
This new approach to air purification can be far more efficient and effective than traditional room air purifiers, and even less costly.
For more information about improving indoor air quality or to learn about Humanscale’s ZŌN personal air purifier, visit
And remember, the next time you’re not feeling the best, it might just be the result of what you’ve been breathing in.