Saturday, May 24, 2008

4 Ways To Freshen Air

By Sid Kirchheimer at

Indoor plants: Place at least two tropical houseplants per 12-by-12-foot area to absorb airborne toxicants, including formaldehyde. Air-purifying plants such as areca and lady palms, bamboo, ferns and spider plants ideally should be placed close to your bed, favorite chair or other “breathing zone.”

Air purifiers: Whole-house air-cleaning systems with good filtration do a better job than stand-alone, portable room purifiers, says John Spengler, an environmental health researcher at Harvard. For even cleaner air, he recommends locating the newer air-to-air heat exchangers—either built in or as window units—in the bedroom, living room or wherever people spend most of their time.

Open windows: Opening windows and doors for about 10 minutes each day—with the heat or air conditioning turned off—will help circulate away indoor pollutants, says Catherine Zandonella, who writes about environmental health for the Green Guide. It’s best to open all doors and windows at once for maximum cross-ventilation.

Air out new purchases: “Televisions, computers and laminate or particleboard furniture give off hundreds of chemicals, and the newer they are, the more out-gassing you get,” says Bill Wolverton, president of Wolverton Environmental Services in Picayune, Miss. “Before you bring these items inside your house, remove all wrappings and let them sit outdoors or in your garage for a few days to reduce your exposure to these vapors.”

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