Professor Oliver A.H. Jones: Environmental Factors for Healthier Homes | On the House #51

In this episode, host Gabriella Joustra is joined by Professor Oliver A.H. Jones who is a professor of environmental chemistry with a Ph.D. from Imperial College London

This fascinating episode explores how various environmental factors can affect the health of people’s homes. Gabriella and Professor Oliver discuss topics like mold, air pollution, chemicals, and some practical practices and habits that individuals can adopt to maintain a healthier living environment. 

Meet Professor Oliver A.H. Jones

Oliver Jones is a professor of chemistry with a specialization in environmental chemistry. He obtained his Ph.D. in Environmental Chemistry from Imperial College London and has held positions at esteemed institutions such as the University of Cambridge and the University of Durham before joining RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. Oliver is also recognized for his research in analytical and biological chemistry, particularly in the context of environmental pollution.

He’s received several awards for his groundbreaking research in analytical and biological chemistry, particularly when it comes to environmental pollution. The guy is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Royal Australian Chemical Institute, as well as an Associate Fellow of the Institution for Chemical Engineers.

Beyond his academic pursuits, Oliver is actively involved in science communication, making appearances on television, radio, and newspapers to promote scientific understanding. He also engages with the public through social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Mastodon, and TikTok.

About the episode

During the chat with Professor Oliver, they explore the impact of various environmental factors on people’s health right in the comfort of their own homes. They talk about stuff like mold, lead, asbestos, air pollution, and even pharmaceuticals in water. It turns out that it’s not just about these things being present in people’s homes but also about the dosage or concentration people are exposed to.

Professor Oliver offers some practical advice on dealing with mold. In most cases, simple cleanup measures are enough to tackle the problem. He also emphasizes the importance of proper ventilation and house design in keeping mold growth at bay.

He says natural options are the way to go if you want to reduce exposure to harsh chemicals. Look for plant-based and non-toxic cleaning products. They’re made from renewable resources, biodegradable, and safer for both your health and the environment. You can even make your own cleaning solutions using simple ingredients like water, vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils. It’s affordable, sustainable, and just plain smart!

Proper ventilation in bathrooms is also important. When you’re taking a shower or bath, make sure to open windows or use exhaust fans to get rid of excess moisture. This helps keep your bathroom dry and reduces the risk of mold and mildew. 

Based on the discussion in the podcast, here are more recommendations for sustainable cleaning practices:

  • Keep homes well-organized and clutter-free. A clutter-free environment promotes mental well-being and makes cleaning easier. Clutter can harbor dust and create poorly ventilated areas.
  • Deep clean bathrooms monthly. Use anti-mildew products and pay special attention to grout lines. Wipe down surfaces daily after showering or bathing for regular maintenance.
  • Use doormats and implement a shoes-off policy. Place doormats at entrances and encourage a shoes-off policy to prevent tracking dirt and debris from outside into your home. This simple practice helps to keep floors cleaner for longer periods.
  • Invest in HEPA air filters and purifiers. If air quality is a concern, especially during bushfire seasons or in areas with high pollution, consider investing in high-quality HEPA air filters and/or purifiers. These devices can help filter out particulate matter and improve the overall air quality in your home.
  • Seek sustainable cleaning recommendations during renovations. When renovating your home, particularly in older buildings, contact manufacturers or experts for recommendations on sustainable cleaning products. This is especially important when dealing with hazardous substances like lead and asbestos to ensure safe removal.

In conclusion

Professor Oliver Jones has given people some fantastic insights into the impact of environmental factors on people’s homes and health. It’s all about finding the right balance and being aware of the risks. Simple practices like proper cleaning, ventilation, and decluttering can make a world of difference in maintaining a healthy indoor environment and preventing issues. 

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