5 Ways to Make Your Home Healthier
Studies show that indoors, the very place where Americans spend about 90 percent of their time, has pollutants two to five times higher than outdoors. Poor ventilation, synthetic building materials, and cleaners are all culprits that can lead to elevated rates of hormone disruption, asthma, cancer and more.
But spending time in our homes doesn’t have to be a toxic experience. There is a clear opportunity to change our thinking about the relationship of energy efficiency and health to make wellness construction a positive driver of economic and health outcomes.
“As an interior designer, I had been putting myself in harm’s way,” said Jillian Pritchard Cooke, founder of Wellness Within Your Walls (WWYW). “For years I walked into homes with high levels of toxins. Through WWYW, we improve global health and wellness by certifying people, places, products and programs.”
WWYW uses a 10-step holistic approach to wellness in living spaces known as the Healthy Living System™. This system encourages a more thoughtful approach to selecting materials and furnishings for living space, coupled with maintenance and lifestyle strategies for continued health and wellness in the home and community. WWYW has designed numerous certification courses with the goal of further educating both professionals and consumers in making more wellness-oriented building decisions.
To help reduce the amount of toxins in your space and improve your living environment, WWYW offers these five tips:
1) An HVAC air filter with a high Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating of 13 or more can more effectively trap unwanted small particles from circulating in the home. The higher the MERV rating, the more particles it traps.
2) A HEPA filter vacuum can trap 99.97 percent of airborne particles. Most standard vacuums only blow particles back into the air, but a true, top-rated HEPA filter vacuum cleaner with a built-in HEPA filter can provide important allergy relief.
3) Similarly, air purification systems vary. With many options on the market, there’s one for every budget and need, whether it’s a HEPA filter or a whole system upgrade. Be sure to check with an HVAC specialist for the system that best fits your needs.
4) A water filtration system can improve the quality of a home’s drinking water. Since 2012, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has analyzed over 32 million state water records and found contaminants, including industrial solvents, weed killers, refrigerants and the rocket fuel component perchlorate. You can access the database and locate water analysis by zip code at www.ewg.org/tapwater
5) Household cleaners can be the culprit for many health problems. Whenever possible, choose non-toxic, botanical-based cleaners. When heavy hitting disinfectants with chlorine are necessary, people should properly protect from fumes with gloves and a bandana or mask.
“We believe we can improve health and wellness by supporting similar-minded companies and suppliers to ultimately help homeowners improve healthy living inside their homes,” said Cooke. “Our mission is to connect the global family with healthy, eco-sensitive products and strategies that result in beautiful, sustainable, non-toxic living environments.” For more information, visit: www.wellnesswithinyourwalls.com
Jillian Pritchard Cooke is a 30-year sustainable design veteran who was driven by her own journey with cancer to create Wellness Within Your Walls (WWYW) and design healthy living spaces while reframing the conversation around wellness construction. WWYW educates and certifies trade professionals, manufacturers and consumers on eco-sensitive practices and strategies with a focus on building healthier living environments.