UK scientists may start recommending air purifiers in some homes following evidence that chemicals found in products like air fresheners can harm human health.
What are VOCs?
The chemicals, known as volatile organic compounds or VOCs, are found in cleaning products, personal care products, air fresheners, furnishings and much more.
According to The Times newspaper, a review being drawn up by The Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics is looking into the effects of these indoor pollutants on human health.
Are Air Fresheners Bad For You?
VOCs can be found in air fresheners and there is evidence that VOCs can have a negative impact on health. According to the British Lung Foundation, about half of studies suggest that being exposed to VOC pollution increases your risk of developing an allergy or asthma.
However, they also say that more research is still needed before we can be sure about the effects of VOC pollution in our homes. And there are calls for manufacturers to label products more clearly.
Not only would this help make consumers more informed when it comes to choosing these products, it would hopefully pressurize manufacturers to create more environmentally-friendly alternatives.
An Alternative to Air Fresheners
Review contributor, Jonathan Grigg, has indicated that investing in an indoor air purifier may be a good solution where it is not practical for families to just open windows.
This may be the case if you live near a busy road, as you will just compound the indoor pollution problem by dragging in traffic fumes.
What’s more, VOC pollution can combine with outdoor pollution to create other harmful particles.
The review might also recommend “traffic light” health warnings on any products containing these harmful chemicals.
What Should We Do About VOC Pollution in Our Homes?
For now, a balanced approach of using a home air purifier and cutting down on the use of risky products should go a long way to significantly improving your indoor air quality.
What’s more, whilst it is good to be aware of not opening windows near to very busy roads, it is important not to think that all outdoor air is toxic. In fact, in an article in the Spectator, Ross Clark argues that our air quality is the best and cleanest in living memory.
Whatever your view of things, it obviously makes sense to live in as healthy a home environment as possible. After all, why breathe air full of VOCs, allergens, nitrogen dioxide and other pollutants when the right air purifier can scrub your air clean several times an hour? Now that’s a breath of fresh air.