How to Clean Up Your Indoor Air Quality as Climate Choices Take Center Stage


This year’s Earth Day marked scientists’ heightened warnings that our planet faces greater hurdles than ever to avoid more deadly storms, wildfires, floods and droughts.

The next alert — Clean Air Month observed in May and sponsored by the American Lung Association for the past 50 years — aims to educate people about clean air’s impact on our lives.

That includes indoor air.

Indoor air can be even more polluted than the air outdoors, experts say. So how can you be proactive?

Here are steps you can take, the American Lung Association says:

  • Test your home for carbon monoxide and for the invisible gas, radon. Make sure your smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector work properly.
  • Test your home for carbon monoxide and for the invisible gas, radon. The colorless, odorless radioactive gas typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Your home traps radon inside, where it can build up. Radon gas can get into the lining of your lungs and give off radiation. Over a long time, that can lead to lung cancer. Radon is the second highest cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoking.
  • Keep humidity levels lower than 50 percent by using a dehumidifier or an air conditioner.
  • Fix leaks and drips. Standing water and high humidity encourage mold growth.
  • Don’t use incense, scented candles or other artificial means to hide odors. Figure out what is causing the odor, then clean that up and ventilate to add fresh air.
  • And as much as we all hate dusting, give yourself a treat to get it done.

After all, pollen, animal dander and dust mite matter — though invisible — can promote poor indoor air quality. So find those places that collect dust — such as baseboards, molding, blinds and shelves — and create a ritual to wipe them clean.

You will feel better, and your household companions will thank you.

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