Bacteria, molds, viruses, and other biological contaminants continued...
Keep humidifiers clean and
refill them daily with fresh water. Frequently clean evaporation trays in air
conditioners, dehumidifiers, and refrigerators. Water-damaged carpets and
building materials can also have molds and bacteria in them. It is difficult to
get rid of bacteria or molds. So, if possible, replace or remove water-damaged
items from your home.
You can also:
- Remove carpets and replace them with
hardwood or tile floor.
- Have sofas with covers that can be removed
- Use blinds instead of drapes, because they collect less
- Have air filters in some rooms, especially in the
For more information, see:
Allergies: Avoiding Indoor Triggers.
Many of the products you use to clean your home or use
for hobbies and home improvement projects contain potentially hazardous
chemicals. Some can be toxic and in sufficient doses can cause eye and
respiratory problems, headaches, dizziness, visual problems, and memory
impairment. One of the most important ways you can protect yourself is by
following the instructions on the label. When you use cleaning or other products,
be sure to open windows or use an exhaust fan to provide good ventilation.
Never mix household chemicals, such as chlorine bleach and ammonia. Some mixtures can
create toxic fumes that can be fatal.
It's better to use
environmentally safe products. Vinegar, lemon juice,
boric acid, or baking soda can be used instead of store-bought household
cleaners. And they are less damaging to you and to the environment.
Be especially careful with products containing methylene chloride,
including paint strippers, adhesive removers, and aerosol spray paints. If you
use products that contain this chemical, make sure you have adequate
ventilation or use them outdoors, if possible. Also, wear gloves to avoid skin
contact. But whenever you can, use environmentally safe products
Avoid exposure to benzene, which can cause cancer.
Benzene is found in tobacco smoke, fuels, and paint supplies. Also, try to limit your exposure to newly dry-cleaned
clothing or furnishings. Dry-cleaned goods may emit perchloroethylene (also known
as tetrachloroethylene) and trichloroethylene. These chemicals may cause skin
rashes, headaches, and dizziness.6 If your clothes emit a strong odor when you pick them up from
the cleaners, they may not have been dried properly and can release more of
this chemical. After removing the protective plastic from the clothes, hang
them outside, if possible. Consider finding a dry cleaner that uses less toxic