Healthy Home

Guest Blog by Pauline Ferguson – Building Biologist and Environmental Health Consultant

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Create a healthy home

If you’re looking to have a healthy lifestyle you’ve probably started with organic food, clean filtered water and moderate exercise.  So it makes sense to look at your environment next.

I know it sounds obvious, but the air that you breathe is really important.  If you’re breathing in toxic gases and exhaust fumes, you’re taking poison into your body.  Don’t even get me started on cigarette smoke.  So, the first thing I’ll recommend is open windows whenever possible.  The more fresh air your body gets, the better it is for you.  If the windows on the front of your house face the road, there are ways to filter that, or easier, open the windows that have garden outlooks.

In addition to getting fresh air in, you want to look at the chemicals you’ve introduced.  These are usually located in your kitchen and bathroom cupboards, and also the garage or garden shed.  Most cleaning agents, petrochemicals (mower fuel, degreasers) contain harsh chemicals which are not good for breathing.  Don’t be taken in just by “eco friendly” or similar on the label, either.  A lot of cleaners have “environmentally friendly” on the label which doesn’t necessarily mean the same as “non-toxic”.  If it also has the phone number of the poisons information hotline, it’s toxic.  A good rule of thumb is whether you understand all the ingredients.  If you do, (and you’re not an industrial chemist) that’s usually a good sign.  If not, maybe hit the search engines and find out what’s actually in those bottles.

Electricity is a really handy tool that we’ve all gotten used to very quickly.  Much easier to deal with than gaslights or coal, and it has a variety of uses.  Every appliance (from your fridge or oven to your mobile phone charger) creates an electromagnetic field.  Some are strong, and you wouldn’t want to spend a lot of time in them (in front of your microwave, for example) and some you don’t think about (like having the laundry on the other side of the office wall where you spend all day… or the electric meter on the wall outside the bedroom).  These don’t normally radiate for more than a few metres, but they’re worth finding out about.  Something I advise all people with microwaves is to turn it on and leave the room.  Especially don’t stand right in front of it, watching the food turn.

Wifi and mobile phones are another handy tool we’ve gotten used to.  Apart from the obvious safety issues of texting or phoning while you need to pay attention elsewhere, like driving or walking (particularly crossing the road!) their use should also be minimised.  With your phone, use the earphones and keep the phone away from your body.  Carry it in your bag rather than on your person, and if you must keep it in a pocket, try for one on your leg or arm, rather than one next to important bodily organs.  Turn wifi off when not in use, especially at night.  And those cute stickers?  Unless they’re really pretty, I wouldn’t bother.  I’ve tested quite a few and the ones I’ve tested don’t work well enough to spend the money on.

Thanks, Pauline!

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