According to the World Health Organisation, every year we lose 4.2 million people to air pollution-related illnesses; and of these, 3.8 million deaths are due to household exposure to smoke from burnt fuel and cooking stoves. Additionally, about 91 per cent of the world lives in places with higher than permissible air toxicity levels. “As air quality declines, the risk of stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma, increases for the people who live in world’s major cities with high levels of ambient air pollution,” says Dr Mitali Madhusmita, head doctor at The Art of Living’s Sri Sri Tattva Panchakarma.
Which is why it becomes extremely important to ensure that the quality of air inside our homes is pure enough to ensure good health. “Science shows that we remove more than 70 per cent of toxins in the body via the breath we take. But if the air we breathe itself is toxic then this is a serious cause for worry. One of the things we can start doing is improving the quality of air within our homes,” adds Dr Madhusmita who suggests a few useful tips to ensure good quality air in our homes:
1. Indoor plants:
Indoor plants take in harmful gases and replace it with life giving oxygen. The more plants that are kept indoors, the greater the quality of oxygen inside the house. Here are a few plants that will help increase oxygen levels in the home.
*Snake Plant / Mother-in-Laws tongue – removes benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and xylene
*Peace Lily – removes ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene
*Spider Plant – removes formaldehyde and xylene
*Ficus/Weeping Fig – benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene
2. Beeswax candles:
The most common type of candle that is burned is paraffin candles. These emit benzene (carcinogenic) and toluene (a chemical that can cause brain damage) into the atmosphere. But beeswax candles are environmentally friendly, have a really pleasant smell and burn longer and brighter. Apart from all these great benefits, did you know that beeswax candles can also help purify the air as they are the only candles that contain negative ions. Most air particles (including germs) are positively charged, they are attracted to the negative ions and when they meet, they cling together and become too heavy to be suspended in the air. They just fall to the floor either to be swept away or picked up by a vacuum cleaner. Research has also shown that negative ions produce biochemical reactions that increase the level of serotonin (happy mood chemical) in the body. So the next time you go shopping, get yourself some beeswax candles or better still learn to make your own.
3. Salt lamps
Ever wondered how you automatically feel so calm when sitting by the sea? A major reason for this is the salt content in the atmosphere. Let us explain: Salt is naturally hygroscopic in nature. This means that it will attract water to its surface. Because of its high osmotic potential, salt has a sort of “pulling” ability which can absorb, on a more subtle level, a lot of negativity from our mind. Salt lamps also produce negative ions, which, as mentioned above, are essential for purifying the air. Apart from cleaning the air and providing a positive state of mind, salt lamps look great with its warm incandescent glow and have also been known to soothe allergies.
4. Essential oils
Essential oils are packed with antioxidants and the right oil can really elevate the atmosphere and provide positive results. Oils like peppermint, tea tree, lavender, eucalyptus, orange, lemongrass and geranium are all powerful antibacterial oils. When diffused, they cleanse the atmosphere around and provide a beautiful aroma as well.