You Are What You Breathe

We do it so naturally, we forget that we are breathing.

Air is one aspect of a green home many take for granted. We are increasingly aware of the dangers in-house air can pose to health and to our well-being. Most of us believe the air circulating in our homes is safe and fresh. This is in fact, a false belief.

In our country, where periods of haze are a yearly occurrence, people tend to stay indoors thinking the air is cleaner. However, without any air filters in place, we are only giving ourselves a false sense of security as the haze is still all around but with visual clarity being better at home, everyone thinks the air at home is cleaner — it is not.

Beyond the haze, cooping ourselves up in our homes to avoid the heat and mosquitoes is not much of a help either. While sealed behind our closed doors and windows, our air gets increasingly stale and oxygen content gradually drops. This is the reason why productivity drops as the day progresses in certain offices. It is also one of the contributing factors for restless sleep, allergies and possibly event death.  

Numerous solid scientific studies have demonstrated that indoor air quality can be devastatingly bad for health.

Air Quality Index vs Air Pollutant Index

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists the following indoor pollutants commonly found in our households:

  1. Asbestos—dust from your ceiling, or wall boards. This can lead to cancer of the lungs.
  2. Biological contaminants— cat dander, animal hair, cockroach and insect shells, pollen and mold (Fungi).
  3. Carbon monoxide—from gas stoves, nearby roads and parking areas.
  4. Formaldehyde—This is especially true if you are moving into a newly renovated or painted house, with new coats of paint and new furniture leeching out hazardous chemicals for years.
  5. Pesticides—these include the various disinfectants, insecticides, fungicides, termiticides (termite killing agents) and rodent poisons. They come in various forms such as sprays, liquids, sticks, powders, crystals, balls and foggers
  6. Secondhand smoke—is also known as side stream or environmental tobacco smoke. Secondhand smoke has been tied to increased risks of cancer and breathing disorders such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  7. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)—the term VOC has been popularized in recent times. Although many believe VOCs and formaldehyde are similar, indeed they are not. VOCs are found in a wide range of household items such as wood preservatives, aerosol sprays (including hair sprays), air fresheners, dry-cleaned clothing and petroleum-based products. The list goes on.

Indoor Air Pollutants

Unexpected Source of Air Pollution

You

Odour, in any form, can be distracting and detrimental to health. While we can easily shut our windows and doors to keep out external sources of smell, there is one source which cannot be removed so easily-the one that comes from our own body.
 
Body odour is the result of sweat coming from apocrine glands in our underarms and groin regions. These glands secret sweat which are higher in protein compared to the rest of our bodies. The protein rich sweat coupled with the warmer temperatures enables bacteria to grow fast and release the stench of body odour.
The same holds true for our legs – while apocrine glands are so numerous on our feet, being enclosed in work or sports shoes for long periods of time results in bacterial bloom and the subsequent stench.
 
So it is inevitable that our feet will smell especially after any sport activity where socks and shoes are required and air flow through the shoes and feet are limited. It is in our nature to sweat and we are not able to stop it from taking place, but we are able to minimized or eliminate these foul smell.
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