It is a common statistic when talking about the quality of indoor air, that we spend approximately 90% of our time indoors. The origin of that statistic was a study by the US Environmental Protection Agency back in 19891. The importance of this is the nature of the contained environment of the home; in the move towards greater environmental sustainability, homes have become more energy efficient and more tightly sealed. While this provides a better environmental impact, it also means that the air in the home does not become renewed through passage of fresh air.
The global textile sector is enormous; in 2018 the value of the US textile sector was $78 billion and employed over 550,000 workers1. In 2017 China produced 79 billion metres of cloth2; that’s enough to go to the moon and back 100 times!
Textiles and clothes are a fundamental part of our everyday life however they also provide an excellent material for micro-organisms to grow on. Measures to prevent microbial growth on textiles and fabrics dates back to Egyptian times when mummy wraps were preserved using herbs and spices3. Since then bamboo has been used in housing structures and design in China and in World War II a range of chemicals were used to impart antimicrobial activity to tents, tarpaulins and truck covers4. Prevention of microbial attack is essential for durability of the textile, in addition to potential use in prevention of transmission of disease.
People with asthma and allergies are advised to avoid volatile organic compounds (VOCs) but in certain circumstances this can be unavoidable. When carrying out necessary tasks such as painting the home, how can you reduce your exposure and what should you be looking out for in your paint?
We are constantly in contact with textiles in our environment and so safety and confidence in these products is vital. In this article, we talk about the dangerous chemicals and their health implications as well as the various ways to ensure that our clothes, bedding etc are free from dangerous chemicals.
The second of a two-part article on the development of an allergy and asthma management plan for the home, controlling of exposure to allergens through their removal or treatment.
The development of an allergy and asthma management plan is an important step in controlling exposure to allergens. But what kind of steps can be taken, and what kind of products should be used, or avoided?