One year ago – almost to the day – we posted a blog suggesting that being Canadian was good for your indoor air quality. Specifically referring to the fact that it’s a Canadian custom to remove your shoes when entering into a home, our blog highlighted the importance of keeping your indoor environment dirt-free. It’s still a surprise to many that our American counterparts don’t seem to share the same views. Many still choose to wear their outdoor shoes indoors.
Most Canadians simply don’t understand this. When walking outdoors, we simply cannot avoid stepping in dirt, water, grass, gum, debris and when we’re not careful, animal feces! Why would we want to track any of that stuff into the house? A simple look at the bottoms of our shoes after one outdoor excursion should tell you that they should not be worn in the house. Exchanging them for house slippers, socks or even bare feet is a safer bet.
Is it hazardous to your health to wear shoes indoors? Well, let’s look at it from this perspective. Is it healthy to have an unclean home? Obviously, it is not. The cleaner you keep your home, the better your health will be. On TreeHugger.com, Melissa Breyer confirms this when she reveals the findings of a University of Arizona study that collected the germs and microbes from footwear.
“The researchers found 421,000 units of bacteria on the outside of the shoe, including E. coli, meningitis and diarrheal disease; Klebsiella pneumonia, a common source for wound and bloodstream infections as well as pneumonia; and Serratia ficaria, a rare cause of infections in the respiratory tract and wounds,” she reports, “Granted the study was co-sponsored by The Rockport Company, but even so, it definitely brings the point home.”
What else do outdoor shoes track into the home? Breyer reveals that, in addition to bacteria, a number of toxins enter our homes on the bottoms of our shoes. She points to a United States Environmental Protection Agency study that discovered the presence of unhealthy herbicides, such as 2,4-D (which is used to kill weeds), can be imported into the home by our shoes for up to a week after application.
“The ‘track-in’ exposures of these chemicals may exceed those from residues on non-organic fresh fruits and vegetables,” says Breyer, “The study didn’t expound on the health threat of the specific herbicide, however the study’s lead author, Dr. Robert G. Lewis, said the potential exists. Exposure to 2,4-D can cause immediate and relatively minor problems like skin rashes and gastrointestinal upsets; long-term health effects of the herbicide are unknown, the EPA said.”
How can we avoid tracking dirt into our homes? Well, we suppose the answer here is obvious. Removing your shoes when you enter your home is a great way to minimize the amount of dirt and grime you bring into it. We’re not exactly sure why more of our American neighbours aren’t practicing this simple, yet effective routine. But we’re certainly supportive of the Canadian custom to do so.
Breyer suggests going with bare feet when you’re inside. “The opportunity to be barefoot is just good for your feet,” she writes, “Studies have shown that children who habitually go without shoes have fewer cases of flat feet, as well as having stronger feet with better flexibility and fewer podiatric deformities. Allowing your foot muscles to do their thing helps them stay strong and flexible.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we recognize that it’s not altogether possible to keep your home completely dirt and grime free. Years of allowing the elements from outside to infiltrate into the home can produce less-than-stellar indoor air quality. Our Air Quality Services use inspection processes to target all areas of concern in your home to promote much healthier living.
For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.