Here's an interesting article on health:
Your house sure does—and it's bad for your health.By the Editors of Women's Health
We humans breathe in 3,000 gallons of air daily—65 percent of it indoors. Not exactly great news. Why? Because indoor air pollution can be two to five times as high as levels in the great outdoors, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Blame building materials, fuel-burning appliances, and stuff you use to clean your castle: They all emit pollutants that, over time, can contribute to health problems like asthma, headaches, fatigue, heart disease, and even cancer, says Helen Suh MacIntosh, Sc.D., of the Harvard School of Public Health. Snuff out these bad guys and breathe easier:
Carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and tiny, sootlike floaters called particulate matter can seep out from improperly maintained stoves, fireplaces, and chimneys. Low-level exposure to carbon monoxide leads to headaches and nausea; high levels are deadly. Nitrogen dioxide can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation. Particulate matter can damage lung tissue.
Do this: Snag a carbon monoxide detector ($20, lowes.com). Use a fan when cooking with a gas stove, and make sure the flame tip is blue. (Yellow indicates that pollution emissions are too high; call your gas company to adjust the burner.)
Phthalates are chemicals used to disperse scents and make plastic flexible. Found in detergents, air fresheners, vinyl flooring, and vinyl shower curtains, they're linked with reproductive and developmental problems and, studies indicate, an increased risk for asthma and allergies.
Do this: Switch to phthalate-free detergents (like Seventh Generation products), use baked lemons as natural fragrance, and hang hemp or cotton shower curtains (from $35, greenhome.com).
PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers), flame retardants added to plastics, foams, and fabrics, are found in some TVs, computers, and furniture. Exposure can cause brain and reproductive problems in developing animals.
Do this: Clean with a damp rag to avoid stirring up dust (which may contain PBDEs) and cover or replace exposed foam pads in cushions.
Radon is an odorless, naturally occurring radioactive gas. It arises from the breakdown of uranium in the bedrock beneath your home. Among nonsmokers, it's the leading cause of lung cancer, resulting in about 20,000 deaths in the U.S. annually.
Do this: Measure levels in your home with a certified home test like the Kidde Radon Detection Kit ($17, lowes.com).
VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are chemicals that are gaseous at room temperature; they're in paint, all-purpose cleaners, wood preservatives, carpet glue, and dry-cleaned clothing. Possible health effects range from eye, nose, and throat irritation to headaches, nausea, and cancer.
Do this: Look for cleaning products that have simple ingredients (such as those by Seventh Generation and Ecover), and avoid products made from pressed wood, such as particleboard—it contains the VOC formaldehyde, a probable carcinogen. Find low-VOC paints and flooring at ecologo.org. ID perc-free dry cleaners at findco2.com.
Taken from: MSN