Improving the health of the UK's toxic homes

Jun 3, 2019, 11:57 AM by User Not Found

Did you know that the flow of air within your property can have a significant impact on the health of your home and family?


Sufficient ventilation not only ensures an adequate source of fresh air for breathing but also has several other benefits that are critically important to health and wellbeing.


Ventilation also helps remove and dilute airborne odours and pollutants; provides the air required by fuel-burning appliances to work effectively; and also controls excess humidity arising from water vapour in the home environment.


This last point is particularly important when you remember that the average family of four produces up to 24 pints of moisture per day through everyday activities, such as bathing, washing & drying clothing, cooking and breathing!


Inadequate ventilation can have a seriously detrimental effect on health.  Nearly 90% of people living with asthma are allergic to allergy DER P1, found in the droppings of House Dust Mites (HDM).  These unpleasant but common creatures require humidity levels of over 70% to survive and reproduce, and it is proven that controlling humidity levels within the home keeps HDM colonies in check and reduces the incidence of asthma attacks.


Recent findings suggest that in many homes humidity levels are far from ideal.  Indeed, 15.3 million homes in the UK are at risk from Toxic Home Syndrome, due to the build-up of pollutants in the atmosphere.


These results may be partly due to improvements in insulation, which while a good thing of itself, if not combined with adequate ventilation will lead to the build up of harmful airborne pollutants that are unable to escape.  All of which can ultimately lead to the spread of damp and mould, also contributing to respiratory issues.


Airflow Developments Ltd. have been producing innovative Air Movements Solutions in the UK since 1955.  This organisation's mission is to improve air quality within the home, improving both health and the fabric of the building.


Having accrued considerable knowledge in this area over the years, Airflow has compiled the following tips to improve the movement of air in your property for a healthier, happier home.


1) Ventilate:  One of the best ways to do this is to install a ventilation system.  You should ensure that it is well maintained and switched on.

Airflow also points out that the bedrooms of children are often the most polluted areas within the home and a shocking 45% are found to have high levels of carbon dioxide, entirely as a result of poor ventilation.


2) Go natural:  It is relatively easy and inexpensive to swap your aerosols for roll-ons and to choose more natural, eco-friendly products.  Aerosol products contain high levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which contribute to between 10 and 20% of total VOCs indoors, similar to the amount that transport contributes to outdoor air pollution!


3) Vacuum Clean:  It might seem obvious but regular cleaning of your carpets (which can be a staggering 4000 times dirtier than a toilet seat) will help remove dirt, pet hair, fungi and other harmful pollutants from your home.


4) Free your feet!:  You can significantly resist the spread of dirt and pollutants by taking your shoes off when you get to your home.   When you consider that 96% of shoes contain over 420,000 units of bacteria - it's an easy decision to make!


5) Dry wise:  Whenever possible dry your clothes outside or in a room that has a ventilation system (most often the bathroom.)  Allowing wet clothes to dry on radiators or heaters massively increases the amount of moisture in the home, having an impact on health and the fabric of the building.


Airflow was one of the bodies that came and supported TrustMark at the recent Better Homes for Hastings event, that we co-hosted with Hastings Borough Council, East Sussex County Council and the Shine Project.  This event was designed to help improve the quality of rented accommodation in the Hastings area, and Airflow provided information about the importance of adequate home ventilation. 


If you would like to find out more about how to ventilate your home, you can find additional resources on the Airflow website:

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