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Natural Awakenings Central New Jersey


Controlling Indoor Air Pollution

 Controlling Indoor Air Pollution


According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air pollution can be as high as, or even higher than, outdoor levels. Because we spend about 90 percent of our time indoors, ambient air quality can impact anyone’s health, but seniors, children and people with health conditions like asthma and heart disease are more vulnerable.

Some pollutants come from outside; others originate indoors through cooking, cleaning, smoking, building materials, consumer products and furnishings. Common contaminants include formaldehyde, mold and pollen. Consider these measures to maintain a healthy, fresh-air environment inside the dwelling. 

Ventilate the Home

Open non-street-facing windows for 15 minutes every day to let fresh air in. Even if it’s colder or hotter outdoors, indoor air quality will improve, and the temperature will adjust quickly. The best times to ventilate are before 10 a.m. and after 9 p.m., when outdoor pollution is lowest. 

Air quality alerts for particulates from forest fires or heavy smog may indicate skipping ventilation. To expel pollutants, use bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans, or position a fan to blow out of a window. Ventilate rooms when painting or engaging in maintenance and hobbies that use noxious chemicals.

Filter the Air

High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters fitted into heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems remove pollutants throughout the house, including dust, pollen, mold and bacteria. Portable air cleaners known as HEPA air purifiers can sanitize a single room or area. For more information, visit

Clean Surfaces

To reduce airborne, allergy-causing agents, including dust mites, pollen, animal dander and dust (comprised of dead skin, soil, fungal spores and chemicals), houseclean regularly. Use a vacuum with HEPA filtration and strong suction. Wet-wipe and wet-mop surfaces with reusable, compostable materials like washable cotton, hemp or wool. Avoid petroleum-based microfiber, which releases microplastics. Mops with bamboo or metal handles are more eco-friendly and longer lasting than plastic types.

Avoid Introducing Pollutants

Remove shoes at the door to prevent tracking in pesticides from green spaces and infectious bacteria from public restrooms, healthcare buildings or foodservice facilities. 

Replace chemical-ridden air fresheners, body perfumes and bug sprays with low-toxicity, DIY or commercial products that use essential oils and plant-based ingredients. Choose cleaning products certified or recommended by Green Seal (, EcoLogo ( or the EWG Guide to Healthy Cleaning (

Make sure new furnishings and remodeling materials don’t contain lead, asbestos, flame retardants, volatile organic compounds or perfluorinated chemicals. Choose Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood furniture and Global Organic Textile Standard-certified textiles. For more tips, visit

Tick Talk

Spring officially sprung on March 21. We have turned our clocks ahead. We are looking forward to warm winds, sunny skies and the smell of fresh cut grass. The daffodils and tulips have recently bloomed and we are just starting with the yard work that comes with the warmer weather.  Sadly, another season has started ramping up.  Tick season.

•             The best form of protection is prevention. Educating oneself about tick activity and how our behaviors overlap with tick habitats is the first step.

•             According to the NJ DOH, in 2022 Hunterdon County led the state with a Lyme disease incidence rate of 426 cases per 100,000 people. The fact is ticks spend approximately 90% of their lives not on a host but aggressively searching for one, molting to their next stage or over-wintering. This is why a tick remediation program should be implemented on school grounds where NJ DOH deems high risk for tick exposure and subsequent attachment to human hosts.

•             Governor Murphy has signed a bill that mandates tick education in NJ public schools. See this for the details.  Tick education must now be incorporated into K-12 school curriculum. See link:

•             May is a great month to remind the public that tick activity is in full swing. In New Jersey, there are many tickborne diseases that affect residents, including Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease, Powassan, and Spotted Fever Group Rickettsiosis.

•             For years, the focus has mainly been about protecting ourselves from Lyme disease. But other tick-borne diseases are on the rise in Central Jersey. An increase of incidence of Babesia and Anaplasma are sidelining people too. These two pathogens are scary because they effect our blood cells. Babesia affects the red blood cells and Anaplasma effects the white blood cells.

•             Ticks can be infected with more than one pathogen. When you contract Lyme it is possible to contract more than just that one disease. This is called a co-infection. It is super important to pay attention to your symptoms. See link.

A good resource from the State:


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