When we hear ‘pollution’ we think of over-populated cities and traffic jams. Or emissions from factories as you drive by an industrial area in town. We rarely think of the indoors. And why should we?
Well, indoor pollution is why even if we can't see it. And as women, we need to be aware of it as studies show that hormone levels are largely impacted by increasing levels of pollution. Read on to learn more about the link between indoor pollution and women’s hormonal health.
What is indoor pollution?
Indoor pollutants are those that exist or are generated in your home. It's a big deal because we spend most of our time indoors. The potential for pollutants to increase is higher in an enclosed space. Some examples include — dirt, bacteria, aerosols, dust mites, cosmetics, pesticides, and so on.
What Are The Sources Of These Pollutants?
- Dirt & bacteria on your shoes: pollutants stick to our outdoor shoes and can be tracked into the home
- Cleaning supplies: may release dangerous chemicals like VOCs (volatile organic compounds). These include chlorine bleach, detergents, air fresheners, and oven cleaners.
- Pet dander: an allergen for many, and triggers asthma and other respiratory problems.
- Mold: aggravated by dampness which could be due to stagnant water, improper ventilation in the shower, etc.
- New building materials like paints and furnishing. They may contain chemicals that give off gases/odors with time. This includes adhesives, solvents, and carpeting products.
- Lead: from deteriorating paint, and mud from the outdoors. This worsens for those living near high-traffic roadways, mines, radiator repair shops, rubber manufacturing industries, and so on.
What Is The Impact On Us Women?
The endocrine system (responsible for hormones), simply put, gets messed up. These pollutants are EDCs or Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals. They interfere with the intended action of the hormones. Apart from complications during pregnancy, these pollutants disturb the menstrual cycle. Some alter sex hormones and can make conception difficult. It is not only the reproductive system that is affected. Hormonal imbalances affect our body as a whole — from the digestive to the circulatory system.
Tips To Stay Safe & Healthy
It is difficult to stay away from plastics or pollution entirely. We caught up with Women's Hormone Expert, Dr. BreAnna Guan, to chat about this topic. These are a few ways to minimize the negative impact it can have on you:
- Remove your shoes before you enter your home. Keep them outside. Invest in a pair of indoor shoes for home use only.
- Use indoor plants like peace lilies and bamboo plants as air purifiers.
- Keep food waste off the floor.
- Vacuum and wet-mop often. Be careful to keep your carpets and mats dry though.
- Choose cleaning products that do not have VOCs. Use ingredients from your kitchen like baking soda and vinegar to make a cleaning solution.
- Keep your home well-ventilated.
- Deep-clean carpets annually using dry steam.
- Clean difficult-to-access areas often (behind/under the refrigerator).
- Use building materials and paint with low or no emissions.
- Wear a mask when deep cleaning.
- Run an exhaust fan in the kitchen and bathroom.
- Consider HVACs, or portable air cleaners to filter the air in your home.
- Brush pets in a closed-off area. Clean furniture and clothing to prevent dander accumulation.
- Clean filters and vents periodically.
Lear more about women's house shoes from Dooeys and the materials we use to support a healthy, comfortable home.