How can I find some clean air?

22/8/2010 Observer Let’s address the air that you breathe: I’m afraid it’s not good.A 2002 World Health Organisation report connected rising indoor air pollutants to serious
illness including asthma, cancer and reproductive and neurological disorders.
The smoking ban will have helped but indoor air is still full of volatile
organic compounds (VOCs), which emanate from everything from MDF surfaces and TV
screens to the sofa (they are also harboured in porous materials). In the
office, wet-toner photocopiers have been shown to be a major releaser of VOCs.
Move desks.
It’s trendy to accuse green building regulations of making things worse: energy
saving means hermetically sealed buildings. Still, we do need a strategy. First,
remove obvious pollutants such as plug-in air fresheners (oh the irony!), which
offer the double whammy of a relentless cocktail of synthetic chemicals and
electricity use. Watch out for indoor air-cleaning systems that release ozone.
The Californian state government banned them after research found that ozone
reacts with indoor chemicals to become a respiratory irritant.
The brilliance of the houseplant at purifying air was first formalised in a 1986
Nasa research paper. One of the researchers, Dr B C Woverton, has distilled the
top 50 tips into a book, How To Grow Fresh Air (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £9.99). (based in Paris) is a bespoke shop full of the most effective
houseplants. A potted plant per 100sqft is ideal. Beg, steal, propagate.
If you only do one thing this week

UK consumers are hoarding £31bn of goods they’re not using. Take the heat out of
consumerism by loaning or leasing. At you’ll find everything from
tiaras to electric drills available for short loans in your area.
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