5 AIR POLLUTANTS YOU NEED TO ELIMINATE FROM YOUR HOME
You eat clean, and you work out. You take the right supplements, and you monitor your progress using apps. You read the most up to date biohacking info, and you’re always tweaking your regimen, figuring out what works — and what doesn’t.
Yet you’re still experiencing brain fog and headaches, you keep getting colds, and you’re not satisfied with your health. What’s going on?
You seek optimum health, but have you considered the health of your home environment? Could it be the air you breathe?
After all, Americans spend 87% of their time indoors1. And:
- Even though you don’t smoke — you could be still inhaling toxins in your home.
- Even though you clean your air conditioning unit regularly — it’s still circling round the same air.
- Even if your house is ‘clean’ from contaminants — it’s easy to tread in or carry pollutants in on your clothes.
By continuing to breathe in these contaminants, you’re basically handicapping your full potential. Not good! But there are ways to improve the air in your home, by biohacking your environment.
EFFECTS OF INDOOR AIR POLLUTION ON HUMAN HEALTH
Air pollution in your home can be separated into three categories:
- Allergens are normally benign substances that cause an allergic reaction — triggering an abnormal response from your immune system.
- Toxins are natural substances poisonous to humans.
- Toxicants are man-made products and byproducts introduced into your environment by human industry, and are often harmful to your health.
Your body fights the threat of toxins and toxicants when your immune system neutralizes the toxin particles and carries them through your bloodstream to the liver. Your liver filters or breaks down the toxins. If you inhale a small amount of toxins, your body is able to repair itself before too much damage is done to your lungs and airways.
When your immune system detects an allergen in your system it creates a type of antibody called Immunoglobulin E (IgE). IgE signals your mast cells that it’s time to get working — there’s a threat! Your mast cells surround and absorb the pollutant, or spill their contents called mediators. Mediators signal other immune system elements to come help, like T cells and cytokine mediators — which in turn ensure the immune response continues until the threat is eradicated. So far, so good.
But if the threat isn’t eradicated because you’re continually breathing in the pollutant, your immune system is under continued attack. Your body may keep making IgE, a powerful trigger of autoimmune disease2.
You may also experience a reduction in T cells and an increase in cytokine mediators — keeping your immune system on high alert but not working well, which can increase inflammation in the healthy tissues of your body. Additionally, some man-made pollutants can cause severe changes in your hormone balance3.
If your body is directing a lot of energy into your immune system, other parts of your body can suffer as a result. And many of the reasons you started biohacking in the first place such as increased energy and clarity of mind fall by the wayside.
THE MOST HARMFUL AIR POLLUTANTS IN THE HOME
While you’re quite right to fear carbon monoxide4 and gas leak poisoning, there are other air pollutants around the home that can harm your health. Some of these air pollutants sneak in via very innocent everyday items, others are more organic but can trigger a similar decline in your health.
1. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
VOCs are organic chemicals that are used in the manufacture of many consumer products. These chemicals gradually become a gas and release into the air in your home.
VOCs can be found in:
- Modern furnishings and carpets
- Building materials
- Disinfectants and cleaners
- Air fresheners
- Dry cleaned material
- Cigarettes and flavored electronic cigarettes5
There’s a possible link between VOCs and asthma and increased allergic reactions6. Allergic reactions often result in neurological inflammation7. In an animal model, continued exposure to VOCs resulted in increased oxidative stress8.
2. Nitrogen dioxide and nitric oxide
These toxic gases are not just emitted by cigarettes, but also kerosene heaters, gas-space heaters, and poorly ventilated or unvented gas stoves and heaters. If you have one of these appliances, levels of nitrogen dioxide in your home may exceed the levels outside9.
High exposure to nitrogen dioxide has obvious symptoms like irritated eyes and nasal passages, diaphragm and lungs, often resulting in bronchitis. But a lower exposure can result in:
- An increase in asthma symptoms
- Risk of respiratory infection
Even if you don’t have one of these appliances, and you don’t smoke, particularly sensitive individuals need to be mindful of thirdhand smoke10. Thirdhand smoke is where residual chemicals and nicotine from cigarettes settle on surfaces of objects, furniture, vehicles, and clothes. When inhaled, these chemicals count as another form of passive smoking, especially as thirdhand smoking involves carcinogen elements11. So even with a smoke free home you may still be coming into contact with nitrogen dioxide and other toxic chemicals through hugging someone else who has been smoking, or sitting in a car.
3. Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs)
These chemicals can have a dire effect on your hormones and hormone production. This is bad news for your metabolism as these chemicals can cause obesity by disrupting normal lipid metabolism12 and in some cases interfering with your appetite regulation13. EDCs can also cause insulin resistance14 and disrupt the normal working of your thyroid, impact negatively on your fertility, and in some cases can even cause cancer.
These synthetic chemicals are classed as:
- Brominated flame retardants (BFRs) used on furniture and furnishings, clothing and electronics.
- Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), similar to BFRs, these are now banned from production, but this doesn’t magically remove them from your home environment in older house.
These chemicals often collect in the dust of your home — this is how you inhale them.
Speaking of dust, the dust particles in your home often contain several types of toxins and allergens which can be detrimental to your health.
While there’s no such thing as a dust allergy, your allergic reaction may be caused by one of the following:
- Dust mites — The microscopic organisms thrive in a humid atmosphere, and feed on dust. The mites’ feces are easily inhaled, and cause inflammatory of the nasal passages and lungs, and can worsen symptoms of asthma15. Dust mites feed on human dead skin cells and mold. Reading this article may have you reaching for the vacuum — but be wary. Often vacuuming with a standard cleaner can disperse more dust mite droppings into the air, worsening your symptoms.
- Pet dander — While much focus is put on the allergic reaction caused by close contact with a domestic dog or cat, dander can live on as part of the dust in your home. When moving into a new place it’s always worth asking if any pets have occupied the space previously.
- Cockroach debris — Dust can contain cockroach feces and shed body parts which in turn contain allergens. These allergens can again create a low level allergy.
5. Mold and mildew
Mold releases spores as part of its life cycle. The spores can also lie dormant for years in dust, only to be activated by a humid and wet environment caused by a leaky pipe or hole in your roof. A certain amount of mold is natural and normal16, it’s only when a large colony forms in your house that it becomes an issue.
Mold spores in the air are bad news for your health as they can trigger a respiratory allergic reaction17 or, if you have the HLA gene’s susceptible haplotype genetic mutation, provoke Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome18.Even if you’re genetically fine, continued exposure can sensitize you to react to future mold exposure. Mold sickness and sensitivity can cause headaches, brain fog, and poor mental performance.
Mold can be found in many places in your home — and it’s not always visible to the naked eye.
Mold eats the sugar and starches cellulose found on:
- Common building materials19
- Wood and paper
- Natural fibers
Mold also emits VOCs, contributing to the toxicity of your indoor air!
HOW TO BIOHACK YOUR HOME BACK TO HEALTH
There are numerous actions you can take to improve the air quality in your home, and continue your biohacking journey.
Here are 3 crucial steps you can take today:
- Invest in a certified HEPA filter vacuum cleaner. A HEPA filter vacuum cleaner drives the air through a fiberglass mesh, filtering out mold spores, pet dander, dust mite waste products, and other pollutants on a microscopic scale.
- Get an air purifier. A good quality air purifier uses fans to push the air through several filters, removing bacteria, dust, pollen and mold spores, before circulating the air back into the room.
- Start treating your space with Homebiotic. Accepting that mold is a natural organism, and that bleach often does more harm than good when fighting a mold colony, we’ve perfected a natural way to keep mold in check. Much in the same way you take probiotics to aid your gut microbiome, by spraying Homebiotic around your home, you can introduce friendly harmless bacteria to fight and consume the mold. Keeping both the mold and your mold sickness symptoms in check!
Start protecting your home today, and get 5% off your next order!
Start protecting your home today, and get 5% off your next order!
Homebiotic is a Registered Trademark of Homebiotic Inc, all rights reserved. Est. 2014.