May 2011 Newsletter

We hope that you are out enjoying the spring after that long winter. For some, the Spring Season brings with it a whole new set of indoor air challenges. At Healthy Environments by Design we are here to help you! Below you will find an article and tips to help those of you who might not look at the Spring Season with the same rosy eyes as the rest of us. For those of you who do not suffer from allergies and/or sensitivities we have lots of valuable information for you as well.

We hope you enjoy this month’s newsletter, and we look forward to helping you create your own healthy environment – by design and you can get started creating your own healthy environment by design today by taking our home assessment and we will get back to you within 48 hours.


Art and Lisa Levine

The Peace Lilly: The Assassin of Air Pollution in Your Home

In which home improvement isle can you get a self-regulating, low cost, indoor-air cleaner that will help improve your indoor air quality?

If you answered “the Lawn and Garden Isle,” you are correct.

Everyone has learned, starting from about the second grade, that plants provide us with the oxygen we need to breathe, but what many of us don’t realize is that plants do so much more to keep us healthy and protect us from indoor air pollution, that puts us and our loved ones at risk, especially when strategically placed throughout our own homes.

The Risks
The EPA estimates that we spend 90% of our lives indoors, where more than a dozen common air contaminants and pollutants can be 5 times higher than outside. Studies show a number of health risks associated with poor indoor air quality. Problems range from headaches, coughing and wheezing to asthma and in some cases cancer.

The Causes
Indoor air pollutants come in two varieties: “particle pollution”, most commonly dust, pollen, animal dander and smoke; or “gaseous pollution” such as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which come most commonly from building materials, dry cleaned clothing and aerosol sprays.

The Solution
Using plants for air purification is becoming more and more widely accepted as a form of treatment to handle the ever increasing number of cases of individuals suffering from allergies and sensitivities as a result of poor home air quality.

It doesn’t take long for these plants to work either. Some scientists in a Washington State University Study found that when plants were placed around a small office and computer lab, within one week dust levels were reduced by over 20%.

Click here to read the full article and to see a chart of household plants you can use to extract common contaminates in your home.

Seasonal Tips

In the Spring Months:

  1. Let’s start with plants. You can obtain 4 plants on the list mentioned in the article and strategically place them around your home.
  2. Alas, it is weed season! Different weeds grow at different times during the year. They also can cause allergic reactions. Have you ever tried spraying weeds with pure vinegar? If you find that vinegar is helpful for weeds, guess what, it kills mold and other microbes too.
  3. Congested from the pollen in the air. Give your sinuses a flush. Use a saline nasal spray or make your own nasal solution with warm water, salt and a Neti-(sinus) pot. These are two low-cost effective ways of cleaning out your airways. We are not medical practitioners so please consult with your doctor first. If you Doctor suggests something else, follow your doctor’s advice.
  4. It is Spring. Relative Humidity levels start to rise above 50% more frequently. Mold spores love to follow pollen into the home. Mold goes dormant at relative humidity levels below 50%. Remember you can never rid mold completely, but keeping your home clean and humidity levels low will keep mold on hold. The only sure effective way to eliminate most molds is to vacuum with a MERV 17 rating or higher. Again, if you need help in identifying one, let us know and we will help you select one.

Host or Attend the “Environmental Healthy Home Presentation”

As part of our mission to transform homes and workplaces into healthy environments, HEBD is offering a free educational program, “Environmental Healthy Homes.” This interactive and highly informative program is designed to educate attendees to the fact that our homes and work places contain many types of contaminants along with inefficiencies.

Attendees of this program will leave with a heightened awareness and a number of ideas to maintain safer more efficient homes that as a result, will increase in the value of your property. Call Art today at 617-686-6934 to schedule a free program to be delivered in your home or workplace.

Let us help you to create a healthy environment in your home or workspace. Contact us at: 617-489-3018 or


Arthur and Lisa Levine
Healthy Environments by Design

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