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Is Your Home Making You Sick?
It’s no wonder spring cleaning gets a lot of Canadians all choked up. Whether they know it or not, their home can be hazardous to their lung health, especially when it’s time to sweep winter out the door and welcome the warm air of spring into the house.
The spring season is an ideal time to consult Your Healthy Home – www.YourHealthyHome.ca – The Lung Association’s essential online guide to domestic indoor air quality. The website launched today with updated information about how indoor pollutants can affect lung health and advice for Canadians on how to ensure that the air in their home is not making them sick. The launch of the Your Healthy Home website coincides with the launch of a new partnership between the Ontario Lung Association and Bullfrog Power, Canada’s leading green energy provider, reflecting their shared commitment to improving air quality, indoors and out. Through the agreement, Bullfrog Power’s generators will inject 100 per cent renewable electricity onto the grid to match the amount of power the Ontario Lung Association’s head office uses. Bullfrog’s green electricity comes exclusively from facilities that have been certified as low impact by Environment Canada under its EcoLogoM program — instead of from polluting sources like coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear.
“The participation of Bullfrog Power will help us to reach a wider audience as we raise awareness about the impact of indoor air quality on lung health,” said George Habib, president and CEO of the Ontario Lung Association. “Our new partnership with the Ontario Lung Association aligns with our focus on promoting action to improve air quality,” said Josephine Coombe, vice president, sales and marketing, Bullfrog Power. “Emission-free, renewable energy is an important part of the solution to creating a cleaner, healthier environment for Canadians.” The new website takes users on a virtual “healthy home tour”, visiting a typical kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms, living room, basement, and garage. Each room reveals items that can have a negative impact on air quality. Users can click on specific issues to learn more about the pollution source and how to minimize its health effects. Simple steps such as banning smoking inside the home, allowing better ventilation in the bathroom to guard against mould growth and using non-toxic household products can make the home a significantly safer and healthier place to live. Pollution is not confined to the indoors, however, so YourHealthyHome.ca has information on outdoor issues such as barbecues and chimneys.
For people who have allergies, asthma or other lung diseases, the website also provides specific information about allergens and asthma triggers to help them to manage their illness. There is seasonal information on maintaining healthy air quality throughout the year, projects that can be completed in a day or a weekend and tips to keep in mind when doing a renovation project. “Your Healthy Home is an educational tool that all Canadians can access to learn about the many issues related to indoor air quality and how it affects lung health,” said Connie Choy, air quality coordinator with the Ontario Lung Association. “By taking action to improve air quality, we make our homes healthier and safer environments for our families.”
Spring Cleaning Tip Sheet
As you throw open the windows to let in the fresh air, here are a few simple tips to make spring cleaning a healthy experience:
• Get rid of clutter such as old books or clothes; they are magnets for dust and mould.
• Clear debris from eaves troughs and downspouts to prevent flooding and mould growth.
• Use air-friendly cleaning products. You can mix baking soda and water to form a cleaning paste or mix equal parts lemon juice and water for an effective surface cleaner. Vinegar is also great for cleaning windows and other surfaces.
• If you’re looking for a fresh spring smell, don’t use air fresheners. Create your own natural air fresheners with fresh-cut flowers or potpourri.
• Check your furnace filter and have it changed or cleaned regularly.
• Choose clean energy to reduce impacts on lung health as well as your home’s impact on air quality.
• If you have spring allergies, check the pollen forecast at weather.ca before going outside. Pollen levels are usually highest in the morning and on warm, sunny days.
About the Ontario Lung Association
The Lung Association is a registered charity that provides information, education and funding for research to improve lung health. The organization focuses on the prevention and control of asthma, chronic lung disease, tobacco control as well as healthy air and the effects of pollution on lung health. For information on lung health, call 1‐888‐344‐LUNG (5864) or visit www.on.lung.ca. You can also follow us on Twitter @OntarioLung and Facebook.