It turns out, keeping up with dust is more important than you might think. Many household items produce PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) which have a very similar structure to PCBs. PCBs are suspected of causing cancer and altering human development. These PBDEs gather as part of the stuff our dust is made of. The thought of little ones crawling around near dust bunnies or placing their hands on dusty ledges now makes me cringe!
So how can we make our home healthier? Here are a handful of things my husband and I have tried and we honestly have noticed a substantial difference:
- Use a damp cloth or micro-fiber cloth to dust, as it picks up dust, dirt, and grime well.
- The obvious one-We vacuum and dust at least 2-3 time's a week. Our vacuum has a HEPA-filter, which is supposed to do a better job of sucking up dirt and dust.
- Whether you emptying a bagless vacuum or removing a filled bag, take it to a garage or outdoor area and place the discarded material in a bag that you can close tightly before tossing in the garbage.
- My favorite-Open your windows often to let the fresh air in! This may only be possible at some points in the year depending on where you live, but even in the cold weather I remember my grandmother doing this for at least a few minutes from time to time. Based on a recent study from the Canadian government, this can lower the PBDE concentrations substantially.
- Use an air filter with the highest MERV rating you can find for your unit and change your filters regularly. The MERV rating should be labeled right on the front of the package and most explain the rating further on the back.
Disclaimer: The above tips are only suggestions that have worked for the writers of Across the Avenue, and are not meant to be taken as scientific research.