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Indoor pollution:when the house poisons us

Indoor pollution:when the house poisons us An insidious killer, indoor pollution is now recognized as the 8th cause of death in the world. Rachid Ait-Namane, interior environment advisor, gives us his advice for finding a healthy and depolluted home.

When we talk about pollution, we immediately think of that which is outside, that caused by the fumes of factories and car exhausts. Wrongly. It is found in our offices, our homes, closed places in which we spend most of our time (about 80%), and bad news:it would be much more dangerous than the one found outside.

Eighth leading cause of death worldwide

The National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety (ANSES) considers that this is a major health issue as the more or less long-term effects on health are harmful. A report published on April 17, 2018 by the American Institute Health Effects Institute* reveals that indoor pollution caused 2.6 million deaths worldwide in 2016 , making it the eighth leading cause of death worldwide.

deaths attributable in particular to heating and cooking food with solid fuels (wood, coal, organic matter...).

Rachid Ait-Namane, interior environment adviser (Ile-de-France region)**, gives us the right gestures and habits to adopt for a healthier interior and a pollution-free home.

  • We do a complete check-up of your home

In a house, "we must not confuse aeration and ventilation", explains Rachid-Ait Namane.

Ventilating means constantly renewing the air using systems such as VMC (controlled mechanical ventilation), extraction vents and air inlets. These should not be stopped or clogged and require regular maintenance to ensure their proper functioning.

Airing is the act of temporarily renewing the air by opening windows and doors.

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To know if our interior is healthy, we invest in a thermometer to keep an eye on the ambient temperature (which must be between 18 and 20°c), and possibly in a hygrometer to know the humidity level. The latter should ideally be between 40 and 55% in order to avoid the proliferation of mites or the appearance of mold in particular.

  • Aeration

This is the basics:every day (even when there is a pollution peak), morning and evening, we open our windows for about 15 minutes.

In the morning, this ventilation allows in particular to lower the level of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the bedroom. Naturally present in the atmosphere, this molecule is produced by the human body during respiration. Problem:the higher its level, the more confined the air becomes. We also take the opportunity to shake sheets, duvets and pillows.

  • We aspire

Vacuuming (at least twice a week) eliminates dust and dust mites (small microscopic critters that love to curl up in hot, humid places), both of which are responsible for allergies.

We do not forget to pass it on the carpets, the sofa, the fabric curtains, the dog/cat basket and the mattress (once a week).

  • We clean WITHOUT stripping

Rachid-Ait Namane reminds us:"the house is not a hospital". It is therefore useless to disinfect your house from floor to ceiling with bleach, to spray your shower with anti-tartar foam and to perfume all the rooms with large blows of deodorizing bombs. On the contrary, this type of product, which boasts of "purifying" and "eliminating 99% of bacteria", is far from cleaning up our home and only accentuates the pollution of our interior by diffusing volatile organic compounds. or semi-volatile (VOC, SVOC) in the air.

These fine particles would represent a direct danger to our health by dint of inhaling them (cancers, allergies, cardiovascular diseases, headaches, attacks on the nervous system and various organs, etc.). Ditto for scented candles, perfume burners, incense, or sanitizing sprays based on essential oils which must be used with caution and sparingly. Especially by people with allergies or asthma.

So we make a gesture for ourselves and for the planet:we go back to basic products (and often cheaper) such as baking soda, white vinegar, lemon, black or Marseille soap.

  • Dry your laundry (but not just anyhow)

As the laundry dries, the moisture content increases. As a result, we avoid placing our dryer in a room that cannot be ventilated and we prohibit the bedroom. Of course, it is difficult to apply these rules to the letter when you live in a 20m2 studio.

In this case, our expert advises to equip yourself with a Rubson type humidity absorber. The ideal is still to be able to dry it outside.

  • We do our work in the spring

During this period, the heaters are permanently switched off, the outside temperatures rise and it is therefore easier to open your windows.

We then take the opportunity to redo the paint, change our parquet or carpet and invest in new furniture (especially those made of plywood or chipboard).

Why ? Because the latter contain the famous VOCs and COSVs such as phthalates, carcinogenic substances suspected of being endocrine disruptors, bisphenol A (BPA) which is found in plastics and which is also accused of being an endocrine disruptor , or emit formaldehyde.

This gas, classified as a proven human carcinogen since 2004 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), is mainly found in chipboard or plywood furniture.

The solvents present in the paints are said to be responsible for certain skin, blood, liver, kidney diseases, cancers and fertility disorders (to name but a few).

So at the time of purchase, remember to read the labels carefully and when starting work, wear a mask, gloves, protective goggles (because of possible projections and emissions of volatile substances) and once again:airing!

  • Smoking outside

Smokers, it's outside! Not only do they poison themselves by smoking indoors, but they also subject those around them to passive smoking.

Cigarettes contain so many toxic substances that it is better not to let them infiltrate and stagnate in textiles (clothes, sheets, sofas).

  • We don't trust so-called "depolluting" plants

This is the big trend of the moment, and yet, no solid scientific study today proves that certain plants would make it possible to clean up your interior.

On the contrary, they produce humidity and their soil contains potentially allergenic substances. It's not easy to eliminate pollution under these conditions.

  • We invest (or not) in an air purifier

Dyson-type air purifiers (the Pure Hot+Cool Link™ model removes 99.95% of allergens and pollutants from the air) can improve indoor air quality. The only problem is that it should ideally be able to put one in each room and that the investment in this type of product is not trivial.

We therefore favor its installation in the room in which we are most of the time, or if we have the courage, we move it from the living room to the bedroom and vice versa.


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