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Keeping Outdoor Pollutants Out

Even if you don't use toxic pesticides in your yard, drift from neighbors' yards or from nearby golf courses or public parks may settle on the ground outside your home. Or airborne droplets of freshly sprayed pesticides might waft in through your windows. And although lead began to be phased out from gasoline in 1979, in many areas it had settled over the years from the air into the soil, where it remains in high concentrations-especially near homes close to highways. Also, lead was banned more recently from exterior than from interior paints. Lead dust and chips from neighbors' or your own house's outdoor surfaces, especially during renovations, can easily be tracked to your door.

With regard to keeping out airborne pollutants, from pesticides to smog, your best recourse is to learn when the air is likely to be polluted by heeding smog and pollen count advisories. Check your newspapers and local TV and radio stations for the air quality index daily. Smog counts tend to be highest between 3 and 6 p.m. When it's very windy, airborne dust counts are higher. At such times, close your windows and use an air conditioner for ventilation and filtration.

For blocking tracked-in pollutants, the lowly doormat can play an effective role. "Wiping one's feet on a commercial-grade doormat appears to reduce the amount of lead in a typical carpet by a factor of six," Wayne R. Ott and John W. Roberts wrote in Scientific American in February 1998.

You can also do as the Japanese and Hawaiians do: leave your shoes at the door. You can assure visitors that, thanks to this practice, the floors in your home are very clean! "Removing one's shoes before entering is even more effective than just wiping one's feet in lowering indoor levels of the toxic pollutants that contaminate the environs of most homes (such as lead from peeling paint and pesticides from soils around the foundation)," Ott and Roberts say.


Excerpted from: Guideto Natural Baby Care, by Mindy Pennybackerand Aisha Ikramuddin


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