Time to Wash the Curtains?

I was diagnosed with asthma when I was a toddler. I wish that made me unique, but 20 million Americans have asthma.

Asthma has a genetic component and an environmental component. Like other children with one asthmatic parent, Sweet William and Darling Fergus have 1 in 3 chance of developing it. An environmental exposure might be the trigger that causes a first (and subsequent) attack.

I learned a lot from my mother about eliminating those triggers, like removing carpets and never using scented cleaning products. Here’s a tip I read in Dr. Philip J. Landrigan’s book, Raising Healthy Children in a Toxic World.

Wash your curtains.

(My tip: get rid of them.)

Curtains accumulate huge amounts of dust. Airborne dirt, pollen, flame retardants, and a variety of allergens and toxins lodge themselves in curtains. These are linked to asthma episodes.

Curtains should be laundered at least four times a year. If they require dry cleaning, seek a non-toxic CO2 cleaner, or at least give them a good airing outside before you rehang them.

If you replace your curtains with blinds or roller shades, be sure they are PVC-free. It’s a challenge, but it’s not impossible.

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