PROTECT Yourself: Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

1. Take measures to improve your indoor air quality. 

  • Open windows periodically to ventilate your home. Vent your gas stove, broiler, grill, or fireplace to the outdoors, and avoid using wood-burning fireplaces and stoves.
  • Do not allow smoking in your home.  Tobacco smoke is a substantial source of exposure to carcinogens.
  • Avoid artificial air fresheners and other scented products.  The number and variety of scented products — including air fresheners, scented candles, and incense — have increased dramatically in recent years. Yet “scent” or “fragrance” as an ingredient often signifies the presence of phthalates. Choose beeswax and organic candles, which emit fewer harmful chemicals than candles made from paraffin.
  • Choose vacuum cleaners that help minimize indoor pollution. Carpets can harbor pesticides, allergens such as mold, flame retardants, and other chemicals. Cleaners with a strong suction, a brush on/off switch, and a multilayered bag for dust collection are the best in preventing dust from recycling into the air.

2. Do not store gas-powered engines, gasoline, or solvents in your basement or attached garage, as the fumes may enter the house. If you must, open the space to the outdoor air, ventilate, and consider storing hazards in an airtight box.  Carefully follow manufacturers’ directions about using and storing hazardous chemicals. This adherence will maximize your safety and that of others.

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