Allergy season is in full swing and an estimated 35 million Americans suffer from health problems as a result of allergens. In fact, statistics from the Allergy Consumer Review show that allergens account for 10 million missed workdays each year.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air quality is one of America’s top environmental issues, with pollutants such as chemicals, mold, dust, dander and pollen contributing to various ailments.
To help cut down on allergens caused by poor indoor air quality, many experts suggest adding wood flooring to a new or existing home. Wood floors contribute to better air quality because they don’t collect the dust and dirt that are often embedded in carpet. As an added benefit, a new wood floor can last three to six times longer than carpeting.
Further, carpet can hide the harmful bacteria, mold spores and pet dander that researchers say could be responsible for the increase in asthma cases in the U.S.
“Over the years, we’ve seen a number of allergy and asthma cases attributed to poor air quality in people’s homes,” said Dr. Neil Schachter, professor of pulmonary medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
A recent EPA study also found that hardwood floors greatly reduce the accumulation of toxins. To help improve indoor air quality, Schachter offers these simple tips from his book, “Life and Breath.”
* Check your air conditioner. Check the ducts in your central air-conditioning unit once a month to remove extra water that may have accumulated.
* Inspect your walls. Wallpaper is a potent food for dust mites and mold, both of which can grow behind the wallpaper. Use flat, washable paint instead.
* Avoid carpet in the bedroom. It is estimated that the average bed contains 10,000 dust mites, which usually burrow deep into carpets.
“Wood floors are not only beautiful, they’re also renewable and extremely durable,” said Kelly McCloskey, president and chief executive officer of the Wood Promotion Network. “And by installing wood floors in their homes, consumers send a signal to the industry to plant more trees, resulting in more forestland.”