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Cleaner homes, even cave-dwellers would have agreed, are good

July 28, 2009 |  4:40 pm

Campfire The recent Health section story "In search of a nontoxic home" detailed the lengths to which some people will, or must, go to create a healthful, safe home. A "refuge," the story calls it.

But the writer of that piece, Karen Ravn, also noted that humans have always had a vested interest in keeping the air in their homes clean.

She wrote in an earlier, less-condensed version of the story:

"Very soon after they discovered fire, our prehistoric progenitors must have discovered that smoke smelled bad and stung their eyes and throats.

'A caveman probably figured out that it was better to build a fire in front of his cave than inside it,' said Dr. Roger McClellan, an advisor in inhalation toxicology and human health risk analysis in Albuquerque.

After all, there was plenty of air outside to dilute the smoke, but inside the cave there wasn’t -- which illustrates why, still today, outside air is generally cleaner than inside air: There’s simply more of it to dilute whatever stuff gets into it."

Ravn tells us how to clean up the air in our homes in the related stories in that package:

How to have healthier air in your home

Make the bedroom your sanctuary

Beware these household chemicals

-- Tami Dennis

Photo: Sure, campfires are nice outside. Our ancestors had to live with the things. 

Credit: Allen J. Schaben  / Los Angeles Times