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Your home needs a health makeover

Many modern interior design elements can be a source of volatile organic compounds Dubai, By Derek Baldwin chief reporter Suchitra Bajpai Chaudhary, Senior Reporter .

Our home, which is supposed to be haven of protection from external pollutions might be a health hazard in itself expert say.

Most homes today have acrylic paint ,plastic coatings vinyl floorings ,false ceilings using polyethylene packing, glues used in parquet flooring and wall papers, synthetic claddings, to name a few things which can be a source of volatile organic compounds ,triggering allergic reactions and skin rash.

Dr Arun Kumar Sharma, specialist in internal medicine and consultant neurologist at Emirates 24/7 Hospital, told gulf news “The construction material in older buildings was brick and mortar and it had organic compounds .However, modern buildings have fancy synthetic cladding such as stryrofoam and polyurethane that are made and polyurethane that are made of petrochemicals and emit more dangerous chemical odours some of these products emit toluene, which has low levels of cyanide in it “

According to Dr.Sharma, we are quite unaware of the health hazards within our homes .” one of the most dangerous groups of chemicals are phthalates , chemical additives that are used to make polyearbonates or softer plastic stronger .These are found in plant emulsions ,plastic food containers , indoor air sprays, shower curtains , even plastic rain gear , plastic toys and other seemingly simple plastic things we use in our homes .

“Studies have shown phthalates to be carcinogenic, impacting many hormones and affecting sperm count “.

Chemical migration

“There is a phenomenon called chemical migration “Said Dr.Sharma. “ The chemical molecules which are suspended in the air enter our respiratory tract and blood stream when we inhale them, causing inflammation resulting in bronchitis and asthma

“Some industrial solvents used in these products have a strong oxidizing effect and trigger ageing too.” He said.

“One of the main reasons for poor air quality is air conditioning moulds and bacteria festering within A/C ducts, Kitchen exhausts, etc. triggering many respiratory diseases, “said Dr Rafique

According to Dr.Rafique homes show that there are three main culprits “

  • unclean air ducts (dust mites, spores and mold )
  • plastic compounds in plants ,glues and air fresheners that emit formaldehyde ,Sulphur dioxide
  • Indoor smoking (result in carbon and nitrogen dioxides)

“Very often high humidity levels indoors cause the chemicals to stay inside.”

Health care experts advise people to be aware about indoor pollution issues , improves air quality at home and live

Best practices of healthy Indoors

1. Remove all carpets as these can be sources of allergies
2. Clean your mattresses pillows and bed sheets regularly and air them as these are sources of dust mites.
3. Ensure thorough and regular cleaning of the air ducts of your ACs that might harbour molds and spores
4. Avoid chemical sprays body does and chemical air fresheners inside the house.
5. Open the doors and windows of your home once a day to allow proper ventilation and airing of the rooms.
6.Go for conventional paints
7. Avoid artificial flooring the harmful floorings are plywood or synthetic wood floorings, which are processed woods and emit formaldehyde

Safe option: real hardwood flooring.

Vinyl floorings are harmful as they are derived from petroleum compounds which contain phthalates that are known to be carcinogenic.

Safe option: linoleum flooring which is made of organic products such as jute, cork, wood powder and natural pigments powder and natural pigments which are organic compared to vinyl flooring which is very harmful to health.

Wall to wall carpet flooring traps dust, bacteria and microorganisms

Safe option : ceramic files

8. Minimize use of plastic at home
9. Use a de-humidifier to improve indoor air quality