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How to Detox Your Home

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The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that indoor air pollution is actually five times worse than outdoor pollution. Smoke in the kitchen, mold in the bathroom, dust in the living room . . . indoor air pollution has been linked to an increase in respiratory problems. So how can you detox your home?

"There are lots of things you can do around the house to make it much more safe and comfortable," says John Kupsch, Technical Director, Good Housekeeping Institute. "For example, go into the kitchen and check the burners. Simply turn on the gas burner and check for excessive yellow-tipped flames, which means the gas is not burning properly and carbon monoxide is being released into the air. Just call your utility company and have the burners adjusted."

If you find the scents or fumes from cleaning products irritating, try one without added perfumes like Seventh Generation's All-Purpose Cleaner.

"Mold can be found anywhere in the home where there's excessive moisture. So in order to get rid of the mold, simply mix a quarter cup of chlorine bleach with six cups of water. Scrub the surface with a brush or a sponge and then continue to keep the space well ventilated to remove the excess moisture," says Kupsch.

A professional radon tester can check your home for this odorless, colorless gas which has been linked to lung cancer. "There are two types of tests that we use. One is a charcoal canister test which is going to give us the highest possible reading of radon within the home during that period," explains Stewart Lenner, Arrow Environmental Services.

"The other test is a computerized test that is going to give us an average over the course of eight hours within the home. If the home has a level below 4.0, then a mitigation system does not have to be in place. Above 4.0, the recommendations are that the home has a radon mitigation system in place."

Good Housekeeping says if your home was built before 1978, hire a professional to test the paint for lead. If your home was built before 1988, have the water tested for lead, too. To learn more, check out the April issue of Good Housekeeping or visit www.goodhousekeeping.com.

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