Monthly Archives: August 2016

Child Poisonings

download-20You can you do a lot to avoid child poisonings in your home.

  1. Keep all household chemicals and medicines locked up, out of sight and out of reach.
  2. Use child-resistant packaging properly by closing the container securely after each use. Some products also come in child-resistant blister cards, which avoid the need to re-secure.
  3. Call 800-222-1222 immediately in case of poisoning.
  4. When products are in use, never let young children out of your sight, even if you must take them along when answering the phone or doorbell.
  5. Keep items in original containers.
  6. Leave the original labels on all products, and read the label before using to understand correct use and dosage.
  7. Do not put decorative lamps and candles that contain lamp oil where children can reach them. Lamp oil can be very toxic if ingested by young children.
  8. Always turn the light on when giving or taking medicine. Check the dosage every time.
  9. Avoid taking medicine in front of children. Refer to medicine as “medicine,” not “candy.”
  10. Clean out the medicine cabinet periodically and safely dispose of unneeded and outdated medicines.

Indoor Air Quality At Home Tips

download-18In the air we breathe outdoors, we know that smog and other pollutants are a big cause for concern. But don’t assume that the air quality inside your home is perfectly safe. A number of chemicals found in the home can pollute the air, making indoor air quality testing essential for a healthy home.

The Clues: Signs of Indoor Air Quality Problems

How do you know if you should be concerned about your indoor air quality? Look for these common warning signs that may indicate you have indoor air pollutants:

  • You feel sick at home and better when you’re away.
  • You’ve noticed problems, even just extra dirt, around heating or cooling units.
  • Air doesn’t seem to be circulating properly in the house.
  • You spot mold in your home.
  • Your indoor air is humid, resulting in condensation.
  • There’s been damage to a chimney or flue.
  • Your home’s construction is too tight.
  • You’ve noticed changes in your health after renovating or remodeling.
  • The air in your home always smells old or stuffy.
  • There’s an odor in the air that you can’t get rid of.

If you suspect you have an issue with indoor air quality, you can perform tests to see if specific air pollutants are infiltrating your home and possibly affecting your health.

Improve the air quality in your home year-round with these seasonal tasks.

The Culprits: Potential Air Pollutants

Before you test your indoor air quality, you need to know what you’re looking for. Here are some of the most common indoor air pollutants that could be contaminating your home:

  • Asbestos
  • Radon
  • Lead and lead dust
  • Household chemicals
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Formaldehyde
  • Dust and molds
  • Pet hair and dander
  • Rodents and cockroaches

The Sources: Where Indoor Air Pollutants Originate

There are many ways that air pollutants can contaminate the air inside your home. Most often, chemicals or materials inside the home emit gases or particulates. Poor ventilation and circulation don’t allow contaminants to flow out of the home; very humid homes and climates are also a breeding ground for contaminants.

Here are some sources of indoor air pollutants that can impair your indoor air quality, particularly when ventilation isn’t good:

  • Household chemicals, solvents, and cleaning products
  • Malfunctioning space heaters
  • Poorly vented furnaces or stoves
  • Outdoor air pollution that gets in
  • Pesticide use
  • Wood, kerosene, oil, gas, and coal burned for heat
  • Insulation made with asbestos
  • Carpets, furniture, and rugs that have been treated with chemicals or have become wet
  • Tobacco products and smoke

Great tips for pest control

download-19You can still protect your home, yard, and garden from harmful pests like fungi, rodents, and insects without putting yourself at risk of health effects due topesticides. While there are many potential risks associated with pesticide use, natural, chemical-free alternatives for pest control are safe and effective.

The Dangers of Chemical Pesticides

The problem with pesticides is that they can be extremely harmful, and exposure can cause a variety of symptoms and health problems:

  • Pesticides can enter the bloodstream if they’re inhaled or come in contact with skin; they can also be potentially fatal if they are swallowed.
  • Children, pets, farm animals, and wildlife are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of pesticides. Nausea, headaches, vomiting, and dizziness are common effects of pesticides, which can also severely damage the skin, nervous system, and respiratory system.
  • It’s not always easy to store or dispose of pesticides, either. They have to be kept where they won’t spill or be found by animals or children, and they must be brought to recycling or collection centers specifically designated for household hazardous waste materials.

Discouraging Pests at Home

To minimize the need for any kind of pest control, start by making pests unwelcome in and around your home:

  • Clear clutter. Keep leaves, yard waste, trash, or even old newspapers from piling up inside or outside your home. These cozy little piles make welcome homes for rodents and insects. Don’t give them the opportunity to settle in.
  • Close up cracks. Cracks, gaps in doors and windows, or other open areas where pests can sneak into your home should be sealed or fixed. Without an easy way into your home, pests won’t be as much of a problem.
  • Take care of pets. Keep pets groomed, clean, and free of fleas and ticks. Regular vaccinations and other health precautions will help keep your pets healthy and pest-free.
  • Clean house. Make sure your home is tidy. Keep all areas clean, especially kitchens and bathrooms where mold and mildew may grow, and vacuum carpets and rugs regularly to discourage pest accumulation.
  • Starve pests. Are pests feeding on your pet’s food and water? Cut off their food supply by keeping pet supplies indoors and out of reach of pests; this will be safer for your pets as well.

Going Chemical-Free

Given the health risks associated with pesticide use, you may want to consider these natural methods of pest control to avoid harmful chemicals:

  • Baking soda. Problems with mildew or fungus in your garden? Use a sprayer containing one quart of water and one teaspoon of baking soda, plus a little squirt of dishwashing soap.
  • Insecticidal soap. Instead of a harsh pesticide, try a gentler solution of water, alcohol, and soap to keep bugs out of your garden. You can also purchase this type of pest control solution at certain stores.
  • Get better bugs. Harmful bugs that invade your home and garden, but “good” insects like ladybugs will actually eat the harmful ones. Birds can also help control insects. Plant nectar-rich flowers that tend to attract good bugs, invest in bird feeders, and mulch your garden to encourage nature to take care of your pest problem.
  • Plant a diversion. Find out what your particular pest prefers to eat, and plant it away from what you want to protect in your garden.
  • Pick off insects by hand. Do a regular walk-through of your home and garden to get rid of any bugs you see — and clean off eggs, too.
  • Plant a variety of hardy plants and crops. Stick to flowers, plants, and veggies that can stand up to the threats of pests like fungi and insects without the help of pesticides. Also consider planting a number of different items instead of just one kind of vegetable or plant — this will discourage any one type of pest from multiplying.