The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that indoor air pollution is 3 – 5 times greater than outdoor air pollution. Many household cleaning products, pet products and air fresheners on the market give off fumes containing invisible chemicals that can concentrate to unhealthy levels. Chemicals, artificial fragrances and dust particles adhere to carpets, fabrics and air vents. Indoor allergens and irritants can trigger attacks and affect people or pets with asthma. Cats are particularly prone to asthma, especially Siamese cats. Since Americans spend about 90% of their time indoors and many of our pets rarely leave the home, air quality is a pretty serious topic.
The Indoor Environmental Science and Engineering Program at the University of Texas sponsored a public workshop on indoor air quality last week. Researches educated the public about the potential dangers of indoor air quality and provided safety precautions.
“In other words, don’t freak out about chemicals, but definitely take your shoes off before padding around your carpeted home: One display implied that tracking in material from outside can make your carpet amount to a hazardous waste dump. The poster included a photograph of a baby crawling on carpet.”
- Properly ventilate when using chemical cleaning products, or better yet use natural, chemical free alternatives. For more information on natural cleaning products check out my previous blog, For Dog Sakes!, Clean Up Your Act.
- Install air filters in you home.
- Replace carpet with tile or wood flooring.
- Do not use odor controlling sprays.
- Don’t smoke inside your home.
Natural cat litters derived from plants can also help you to lessen the allergens in your home and keep dust levels down. Ever notice that plume of dust when you pour cat litter into the pan? Some of the natural, alternative cat litter brands prove to have the lowest dust levels of any cat litter on the market. Alternative litters also contain zero silica dust. Silica dust is mined from the earth and used to make products that absorb moisture. For this reason many conventional cat litters contain silica dust. The silica dust is most noticeable when the cat covers waste in the litter box or when the product is poured into the litter pan. The inhalation of these silica particles has been linked to lung cancer, bronchitis and tuberculosis. Silicosis is a lung disease caused by inhaling silica dust containing extremely fine particles of crystalline silica. Silicosis only develops after prolonged exposure to crystalline silica. The odds of developing the disease from exposure to clay cat litter are therefore highly unlikely, but switching to a natural, dust- free litter will go a long way when reducing allergens. As an added bonus, you’ll find your self needing to dust a lot less often!
So stop spending money on products that can make you, your family and your pets sick. Stick to natural products and stray away from chemicals and artificial fragrances. Home deodorizers might smell pretty but are they worth the price?
Check back soon for a blog devoted to Feline Asthma. I will cover the signs, symptoms, treatment options and other possible triggers.