Our Best Recommendations for Home Test Kits, Air and Water Purifiers
For your convenience, we have hand-selected a list of Products, Test Kits, Books, and Websites that will help transition you to a healthy and toxin-free lifestyle.
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There is not too much more important than the air you breathe. In this first section, we will go over how to keep your air healthful.
Our lungs are very efficient, but they are very delicate membranes built to get oxygen into our bloodstream. But they are also a fast way to get other toxins into our bodies. This is why many drugs are inhaled and why gases like Methane and Carbon Monoxide are so fatal.
Most of us spend 80% of our life inside. So what is in our indoor air is extremely important.
If you have forced hot air or a central air conditioning system in your house, we recommend getting the ductwork professionally cleaned at least every three years. We always suggest people have the ducts cleaned as soon as they purchase the house and before they need to turn on the system. It is not necessary AND we heartily discourage the duct cleaning professional from adding artificial scents, like “pine tree” or “cherry” to the duct after it is cleaned. Why? Better than 90% of these air freshener scents are synthetic and contain chemicals that impact your lungs and liver. A simple soap and water wipe down, following the vacuuming out of the duct chases, is sufficient.
Most people would not suspect the room air freshener was a toxic substance, But most fragrances are artificial chemicals bound to a second substance that helps them to enter the air.
These carrier substances are most frequently Phthalates. Phthalates have been shown to shrink testicles in grown men, reduce sperm count, and change the genetic expression of certain known measurements of the human body.
For example, in 2005 scientists conducted the first study to examine the correlation between the amount of phthalates found in the mother and changes in the size of newborns.
The researchers measured the metabolites of nine phthalate esters found in the mother’s urine and the size of specific body parts on the newborn. Mothers with high urine phthalate concentrations were 10 times more likely to have male babies with decreased measurements of ano-genital distance. This marker is a standard used by scientists studying the reproductive abilities of different species. Its decrease in newborn males suggests possible fertility problems for them as they get older.
What are the first steps to keeping air clean?
We get asked frequently about the need for Air Filters in the home. Here are my thoughts as to when its necessary and what kinds are best.
Filtering of the air in your house is a lot like putting band-aids on skinned knees when someone should have been wearing knee pads, to begin with.
If there are things in the house you are allergic to; dust, mold, dander, pollen, perfumes & scents, dust mites, etc… look for ways to completely remove the cause of them rather than just filtering them out of the air.
For example, if you are allergic to the fibers from your wall-to-wall carpeting it makes more sense to remove it and have wood flooring that is “fiber-free” than to vacuum every day or run an air filter all the time. You might still need to vacuum for other reasons, but if the carpet is removed, or only a small amount of carpet is used, then the scale of the problem is much smaller.
If you have a lot of air pollution coming into the house from outside, look at “air-sealing” such as weather-stripping, filling gaps, putting door seeps on outside doors. Block as much as you can. The need for fresh air can be met through air-to-air heat exchangers, that exhaust inside air while bringing in fresh outside air. These are usually professionally installed.
When to use Indoor Air Filtration
There are many situations when you may want to filter your indoor air, but as mentioned above, it is best to start first by removing the source of the pollutants: seal up air leaks in a drafty home, (since more than half of all indoor air pollutants come in from outside,) get rid of petroleum-based carpeting and rug pads, vent any kitchen smoke to the outside and throw away all air fresheners and scented candles, for example.
Beyond general home air quality improvement, there are many special circumstances that would warrant the use of a good air filter. Here are just a few:
- When removing something dangerous from your home, like asbestos floor tiles.
- (Please also put up plastic sheeting to seal off the work area and wear a double carbon-filter face mask and goggles.)
- Example: When we purchased a 1940s home it had a submarine boiler as a furnace. We checked with our state environmental protection department who told us that it was OK to remove the asbestos from the furnace casing ourselves if we followed particular safety procedures. While doing the project, we isolated that section of the basement with plastic sheeting and ran an air filter inside the whole project and for a week afterward. We then disposed of the air filters as prescribed by the state.
- When having indoor construction done on your home.
- Example: When we enclosed our porch, the contractors asked us to stain and seal the wood door and window trim before they installed it. Even though we used water-based, low VOC polyurethane, and had the windows open with a fan running, there was still a smell. As you may know, if you can smell chemicals, then you should not be breathing them! Unfortunately, it was winter, and we did not want to leave all of the windows open. So we ran an air filter in the new porch until all the smell was gone.
- When you paint a room or the basement
- When you refinish a wood floor
- When you or someone you live with has a respiratory disease such as COPD, Emphysema, Black Lung, or Asbestosis.
Air Quality Testing
Outdoor Air Quality testing is usually done by your local, district, county, or state government. Normally they test at regular intervals from an air monitoring station. The monitoring stations can take intermittent or continuous reading for Ozone, Particulates, Pollen, and sometimes more specific readings for Sulfur Dioxide, etc. This outdoor air quality data are reported on the government website, and/or on weather apps.
Indoor Air Quality is usually tested only by professionals with expensive equipment. But there are at least 3 home test kits that consumers can use to test their own indoor air.
AIR TEST KITS
Home Air Check Indoor Air Quality Formaldehyde Test (https://amzn.to/2VtxhGr)
Radon Gas Test Kit by First Alert (https://amzn.to/3bxs1bn)
Mold Test Kit by Healthful Home 5-Minute Mold Test (https://amzn.to/39pLObk)
Air Filtration – What’s important to know?
You need to know what you are trying to filter. No filter gets everything out all the time. If you want to get rid of fumes from a new piece of furniture, like kitchen cabinets, you need carbon filtration. If you only need dust control, it should be HEPA filters.
Another instance of air filters would be if a portion of the house is undergoing renovation or expansion. Construction dust and fumes (sawdust, sheetrock sanding dust, paints, and varnishes) all need to be contained within the construction area first, then a filter brought into the rest of the living space to deal with any leakage.
Don’t waste money on “ion” generators, “ozone” generators, and other units that don’t have fans to move the air. They are not going to clean the air fast enough if at all, to relieve your symptoms. In fact, the US EPA issued a statement about ozone generators saying they are inappropriate for use inside homes and can cause health problems such as sore throats, headaches, asthma, and cough. See this page for more info: https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/ozone-generators-are-sold-air-cleaners
Look for an air filter with multiple fan speeds, quiet performance so it won’t keep you up at night, and wheels on the cabinet so you can move it around easily. It should have a large filter – the larger the better. Check for a tight fit between the filter and the slot it fits in. Leaking air here is called “bypass”. Anything that bypasses is not getting cleaned. You can remedy a leaky filter by applying tape between the filter and the frame so air cannot get around it.
Finally, consider the cost of the replacement filters. Sometimes they can be more than the original cost of the entire machine, so look at the replacement filter cost when choosing which filter to get.
To choose an Air Filter appropriate for the size of your space, we have put together a list of the filters we personally use. Please see these listed below:
The Best of the Best:
AIR DOCTOR 4-in-1 Air Purifier UltraHEPA, Carbon & VOC Filters Cleaner Sensor Automatically adjusts Filtration to air Quality! Portable. Quiet. Captures Particles 100x Smaller than Ordinary HEPA. (https://amzn.to/2WQAQcq)
Also Top Rated:
IQAir [HealthPro Plus Air Purifier] – Medical-Grade Air [HyperHEPA Filter] for Allergies, Pets, Asthma, Odors, Smoke, Pollen, Dust; Swiss Made (https://amzn.to/2wGxzBu)
For Large Rooms:
Blueair Pro M Air Purifier, Professional – Allergy, Mold, Smoke and Dust Remover (https://amzn.to/3aqXITw)
For Small to Medium Rooms:
Blueair Classic 205 Air Purifier for home with HEPASilent Filtration for Allergies, Pets, Viruses, Dust, Asthma, Odors and Smoke, WiFi Enabled, ALEXA compatible- Small to Medium rooms (https://amzn.to/2Jm1uSw)
For Small Rooms:
Blueair Blue Pure 411 Air Purifier for home 3 Stage with Two Washable Pre-Filters, Particle, Carbon Filter, Captures Allergens, Viruses, Odors, Smoke, Mold, Dust, Germs, Pets, Smokers, Small Room (https://amzn.to/3bvNx05)
For Very Small Spaces (like an office cubical):
IQAir Desk Personal Air Purifier [HyperHEPA Filter] Allergies, Pets, Asthma, Pollen, Dust; Swiss Made (https://amzn.to/2xA1Vpl)
For Inside Vehicle:
IQAir Car Air Purifier [HyperHEPA Filter] Portable, Air Pollution, Cabin Filter, App-Enabled, Allergies, Asthma, Pollen, Dust; Swiss Made (https://amzn.to/2WPeA2g)
After reading our book “Detox for Everybody” and learning about all the contaminants that can be in water, you might be thinking you will never drink your tap water again. But the solution to these issues is simple:
- Never put any chemicals or prescription drugs down any drain or spill them onto the land — you don’t want to be part of the pollution problem!
- Get your water tested.
- Filter it if you need to.
For water supplied by your municipality, you can ask the Water Department for their water test report. However, it may not represent what is actually coming out of your faucet because the sample is taken at the water treatment plant, but then your water must travel through miles of likely old pipes and your own house plumbing before you drink it. And they may not have the budget, technology or personnel to test for all the contaminants that you should be concerned about. Generally, they follow federal and/or state drinking water standards but do not normally test for Lead, Pesticides, Radon, etc.
If you have well water, some state departments of public health or town health departments may provide free or reduced-cost water testing, however, although you may be able to test from your own kitchen faucet, as stated above, they may not test for all contaminants.
This is why I don’t recommend relying on the water test results provided by your municipal water department. Instead, look for an independent environmental water testing laboratory that will test your home tap water sample. You can find these listed in the phone book’s business section under “Environmental Testing”, or “Water Testing”, or “Environmental Laboratories.”
Test your water in your own home, at your kitchen tap. It is best to test your water from your faucet in the kitchen since this is where you get the most of your drinking and cooking water. You want to test it first thing in the morning so that it has a chance to sit in your house pipes overnight.
The lab should ship you a test kit, or you can go pick one up. You can not bring them a sample of water in any old container. They will provide you with several special containers, depending on what you want to test for, for example, a Radon test is usually a separate glass vial. And a bacterial test is going to need a sterile container.
Below we have listed some basic water test kits that you can buy online. These are a good place to start, but the gold standard for water testing would be, as I mentioned above, a local “Environmental Testing”, or “Water Testing”, or “Environmental Laboratories.”
WATER TEST KITS
Safe Home ULTIMATE Drinking Water Test Kit – CITY WATER or WELL WATER – 200 Contaminants Tested at our EPA Certified Laboratory (https://amzn.to/2QP18rs)
Lead Iron Copper and Mercury – Home Water Test Kit for Well and Tap Drinking Water Fast & Accurate Quality Testing to EPA Standards | Easy to Use and Sensitive Tester Strips – Made in USA (https://amzn.to/2QQqAwC)
Well Water Test Kit for Drinking Water – Quick and Easy Home Water Testing Kit for Bacteria Nitrate Nitrite pH Manganese & More, Made in The USA in Line with EPA Limits NO MAILING Required (https://amzn.to/2wAw5ce)
Taking Toxins Out of Your Water
For THMs, pesticides, oils, solvents, and other chemicals a simple Carbon Filter will suffice. For Lead, and other minerals a sediment filter and carbon filter in succession will do the job. These can be mounted on top or under the counter for drinking water.
Shower and bath filters are also available. These are very simple to install yourself.
If you don’t want to be bothered by several small filters all over the house, you can purchase a “whole house” filter that is professionally installed as the water line comes into the home, before it goes to any of the faucets or the water heater.
The key to water filtration is changing the water filters. Improperly maintained filters are WORSE than no filter at all because they can breed bacteria. The more expensive filters will have a reminder light or timer that tells you when to change the filter. A good rule of thumb is to change the filter as recommended by the manufacturer, or at least every 6 months or when the water stream out of the filter decreases by half, whichever comes first.
To make choosing a Water Filter easy, we have put together a list of filters we personally use or have used and were happy with.
Whole House System:
Aquasana Whole House Water Filter System – Filters Sediment & 97% of Chlorine – Carbon & KDF Home Water Filtration – EQ-1000, 10 Yr, 1 Million Gl (https://amzn.to/3arfFBr)
Under Kitchen Sink:
Aquasana Under the Sink Filter with Spigot – 3-Stage (https://amzn.to/2xqtdi1)
Automatic Self-filling Water Pitcher:
ZeroWater 23 Cup Water Filter Pitcher with Water Quality Meter, (https://amzn.to/3rbewHz)
Fill-it-yourself Water Pitcher:
Brita Everyday Pitcher Filter (https://amzn.to/2JktVzZ)
Aquasana Shower Water Filter System w/ Handheld Massaging – Filters Over 90% of Chlorine – NSF Certified Carbon & KDF Filtration Media – PH Enhancement – 6 Month, 10,000 Gallons (https://amzn.to/2xroxsn)
Individual, Potable, Filtered Water Bottle:
Water Filter Bottle (https://amzn.to/2Um6c8S)
Travel – Water Filter for Traveling:
Sawyer Products MINI Water Filtration System (https://amzn.to/39cDzjA)
Travel – Ultra-violet lamp that destroys over 99.9% of bacteria, viruses, and protozoa:
American Red Cross Ultralight Purifier RCP-MP-E American Red Cross Ultralight Purifier (https://amzn.to/2I7MF5g) NOTE: This will not remove toxins, use this pen FIRST, before the “Sawyer MINI Water Filtration System” listed above when water quality is questionable.
LEAD and ASBESTOS TEST KITS
Lead in Paint or Toys:
Lead Test Kit with 30 Testing Swabs – Rapid Test Results in 30 Seconds. Just Dip in White Vinegar to Use Lead Testing Kits for Home Use Reagent, Suitable for All Painted Surfaces (https://amzn.to/2JhPsth)
Asbestos Inspector in a Box (https://amzn.to/3aqmBPm)
Here are other places to get good, reliable information on how to clean up your home and work environments.
Making Better Buildings: A Comparative Guide to Sustainable Construction for Homeowners and Contractors, by Chris Magwood (https://amzn.to/2UFoPDW)
How to Build a Healthy Home, by Daniel Stih (https://amzn.to/2QQOBnv)
The Non-Toxic Home & Office, by Debra Lynn Dadd (https://amzn.to/2JlyHgF)
The Naturally Clean Home: 100 Safe and Easy Herbal Formulas for Non-Toxic Cleansers, by Karen Siegle Maier (https://amzn.to/2wKwQiJ)
We have reviewed these websites and agree with the content as of April 2020. The significance of this is that most websites are NOT reviewed for content by anyone. So knowing who has tried and true information is important. The sites below contain things you can do and use to clean your home safely without creating more indoor air pollution issues.
Environmental Working Group:
Bon Ami Cleanser Company (c. 1886): With over 130 years of cleaning experience this site tells you how to clean just about everything. One of, (if not the) oldest manufacturer of natural cleansers. Formerly housed in the Bon Ami building in Manchester, CT! https://www.bonami.com/cleaning-tips/
💗 We wish you a long and healthy life. Thank you again for your support! 💗