Painting & home improvements
With our homes now acting as offices, lockdown has presented the perfect incentive to brighten up the walls and give the rooms a makeover. But that smell of fresh paint or new furniture can be a sign of VOCs like Benzene and Formaldehyde, which can linger in the air.
To help lower your exposure, look for paints that are low in VOCs, which are often the quick-drying, water-based or low-odour options. Keeping windows open while you are painting or using a purifier will also help the pollutants clear more quickly and may reduce your overall exposure.
Self-care sessions can offer some much-needed respite from the monotony of life in lockdown but products that make our homes smell better can often have a negative impact on air quality. Scented candles release VOCs into the atmosphere, with the burning of wax emitting some of the same chemicals found in diesel fuel emissions. Personal care products such as hair spray, lotions and perfume may also be offenders, as they can emit pollutant gases into the air of your home.
To help minimise exposure, choose unscented personal care products and avoid aerosol sprays. Consider reducing your use of scented candles, and try to open the windows when using these products. This will allow fresh air to circulate and reduce the chance of the pollutants lingering in your home and becoming trapped inside.