Wildfires happen in the summer when it’s hot and dry and then in the fall when it’s still dry and windy. Vast stretches of heat sweeping the country coupled with drought, lightening and human error provide the perfect breeding ground for seasonal wildfires. In 2017 alone, there were 71,000 wildfires that burned through 10 million acres of land, 12,000 homes and caused $18 billion in damages. And with these fires comes the inevitable and dangerous air pollution that affects not only the areas where the fires occur, but also everywhere it touches as the smoke mixes with the jet stream and travels hundreds of miles away. Is your family in danger when smoke continues to linger? This is a very relevant topic. You’ve trusted Mamavation to bring you topics like 15 plants NASA recommends to clean your indoor air, how the air quality is inside your city RIGHT NOW, & 5 bedroom plants that will help you sleep, now journey with us as we cover a topic you may not have thought of before — how to keep your family safe from wildfire air pollution and smoke inhalation.
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Air Quality Negatively Affected by Wildfires
Wildfires produce particles and chemicals generated by burning of carbon-containing materials. All smoke contains carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and soot, and can contain many different hazardous chemicals, including aldehydes, acid gases, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), benzene, toluene, styrene, metals and dioxins depending on how hot the fire is and what’s burning. YIKES.
Outdoor air quality is directly negatively affected by wildfire smoke just as it is with any fire, but on a massive scale. Pollution levels during or after a wildfire almost always exceeded EPA regulations with levels that were 1.2 -10x higher due to wildfire smoke. Children and babies in utero are among the highest risk groups to develop adverse health effects from smog and smoke. It’s been confirmed that lung development is negatively impacted in the womb when pregnant mothers are exposed to air pollution which can lead low birth weight and premature birth as well as chronic conditions like asthma and respiratory disease. In fact, over 90% of 45 studies reported that wildfire smoke was significantly associated with risk of respiratory morbidity in all age groups.
According to ClimateCentral.org,
Wildfires burning within 50-100 miles of a city routinely caused air quality to be 5 to 15 times worse than normal, and often 2-3 times worse than the worst non-fire day of the year.
How Products Used Inside The Home Are Part of the Problem
What’s more, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulates are also a huge part of the air pollution problem. A study found that most air pollution is coming from everyday products like household cleaners, personal care products, perfumes and other industrial products that emit air-polluting toxins which then escape the home and get into the air we breathe outside. VOCs have a long list of negative health effects including eye and nose irritation, chronic asthma, liver, kidney and central nervous system damage, and cancer. Overall, air pollution causes our bodies to function at lower levels because we’re being bombarded with dangerous chemicals that we’re inhaling on a daily basis which leaves little time for the body to recover and restore itself back to health. Because air pollution ranks as the 5th most concerning health risk factor worldwide, it’s critical to identify and decrease particulate emissions whenever possible, both inside and outside the home.
So to put this into perspective, if you focus your efforts on cleaning up your indoor air quality, you’ll do a great job of removing most of what they will be exposed to. So we’ve taken the liberty of combining the tips and tricks for you down below that look at the picture as a whole.
8 Ways to Protect Your Family From Wildfire Smoke Inhalation and Air Pollution
There are several steps you can take to reduce your family’s exposure to smoke and smog. Most of our efforts should be focused on increasing the quality of air inside our homes to create a safe haven to escape increased levels of toxins present during wildfires and high pollution days.
1. Monitor the air quality in your area
Most cities broadcast current air conditions, and you can see a map of areas at risk here. Pay attention to what the conditions are like in your city and the forecasts so you can plan.
2. Stay inside when air pollution levels are high.
This is important especially for pregnant women and children. Keep outdoor activities to a minimum, especially when you expect to be out of breath by doing the activity like cycling, running, nature walks or sports. The less you breath outside, the less you’ll get into your lungs.
3. Choose non-toxic household cleaning supplies
We spend about 90% of our time indoors and on days when it’s polluted, perhaps more. It’s estimated that indoor air quality is anywhere from 3-5x more polluted than the air outside so cleaning up the indoor air is a great step toward protecting your family. Here you need to select only products that don’t add pollution into your home. Remember when we told you that everyday products were a main driver now of pollution? This is where you can make a dent in that inside your own home. Here are some of our recommended products:
- Non-toxic cleaning products
- Non-toxic cleaning supplies
- Non-toxic laundry detergent
- Non-toxic dryer sheets
4. Stop polluting indoor air with fragrances from personal care products.
You may not think about how much pollution fragrances add to your air via personal care products, but they do. Here is a list of recommended personal care products you can count on that won’t add to the air pollution inside your home.
- Shampoo & conditioner
- Facial wash and moisturizer
- Hair products
- Soap & body wash
- Nail polish
5. Purchase a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA or DFS) filter for your home.
Purchase a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) or DFS filter for your home to effectively remove particulate matter from air pulled from outdoors. This system will also work to remove the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air inside your home as well. HEPA air systems clean up about 99.7% of pollutants, but DFS filters clean up 99.99% of pollutants with the added bonus of also getting viruses, bacteria, mold & airborne germs. The best system on the market is the Intellipure. This system has done wonders for my family, especially my husband who suffers from severe pet allergies. [Use MAMAVATION for 10% off the unit.]
6. Take your shoes off at the door.
Lots of toxic things are trampled inside your home by being on the bottom of your shoes. Would you lick the asphalt outside? That’s basically what your shoes do? Take them off at the door and you’ll bring less inside.
7. Invest in houseplants for your home.
Invest in several houseplants that naturally purify indoor air. NASA has done all the research on which plants clean up what toxin, so take their advice and start adding more greenery to your home. At least one per room is ideal.
8. Consider getting masks for the family for when outside
In acute situations where you’re in the direct line of wildfire smoke or extreme air pollution of any kind, consider using a simple respirator mask to reduce inhalation of particulates.
Is It Possible to Detox Toxins from Smoke Inside the Body?
So what do you do if you have been exposed to toxic smoke from wildfires? Well, there are solutions out there if you take a look at what firefighters do. Cancer is the leading cause of death in firefighters outside of the line of duty, surpassing heart disease, according to the International Association of Firefighters. So this is a serious topic for the men and women who protect us everyday. So what have they discovered works for them? Infrared sauna and sweating. In fact, some units even have them at the firehouse paid for as “detoxing agents” for them to use after a job.
Some of the worst chemicals are detoxed and come out in your sweat during an infrared sauna sweat session. And when it comes to flame retardants, the health impacts are serious. A handful of flame retardant chemicals including polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) and chlorinated flame retardants (CFR) have been linked to dangerous heath effects like endocrine disruption, decreased fertility, immune suppression, altered sexual development, cancer, delayed brain development, lower IQ, and behavioral problems in humans. The dangers of flame retardants are so obvious that in November 2010, 145 scientists issued a joint statement documenting the health hazards of brominated and chlorinated flame retardant chemicals. It’s very clear that the chemicals in the air after a fire are very hazardous to our health. Therefore, picking up an infrared sauna for your family is a wise solution.
Mamavation Community Gets $400-600 Off Clearlight Infrared Sauna
Clearlight Infrared Saunas offering the Mamavation community between $400-600 off the cost of a unit, lifetime warranty, and a backrest when purchasing. To learn more click here or dial 1-800-798-1779 and let them know you are with Mamavation.
And if you’d like more information about how to detoxify your home from toxins and hormone-disrupting chemicals that cause indoor air pollution, pick up a copy of Green Enough: Eat Better, Live Cleaner, Be Happier (All Without Driving Your Family Crazy!). Mamavation is also a community of like-minded people, so join us on Facebook for support from other women who are just like you. And for FREE updates, tips & tricks, product investigations and news, sign up for the Mamavation newsletter here.