DESPITE the news about air pollution in our cities, we take clean air for granted.

Even here in Wallingford, the High Street often exceeds EU levels.

Two things contribute: cars idling at the traffic lights, and people think it is quicker to drive through town rather than use the bypass. It’s not, because of the lights!

Read also: The 22 places in Oxfordshire breaching air pollution limits (Feb 2019)

When the traffic lights in Wallingford turn red, you can wait up to two minutes before it is your turn to go.

Why not save fuel and money and help the air quality for those living and working along the High Street by switching off while you wait?

Do the same outside school gates if you can’t walk or cycle.

Now the Clean Air Day people have released a new report about air quality in our homes.

In part it says: “Formaldehyde, among other air pollutants, was identified as one of the most toxic pollutants prevalent in UK homes.

"A fifth of UK homes showed significant levels of formaldehyde with 13 per cent of properties exceeding World Health Organisation (WHO) guideline limits.

"Formaldehyde is a human carcinogen and can be found in adhesives in wood products such as MDF, carpets, furniture, paints and varnishes. Health effects of formaldehyde include sore throats, rhinitis, nasal irritation and breathlessness."

Read also: 'Dump your boiler for an air source heat pump'

According to the report, these action can make a difference:

• service your boiler every year,

• always burn well-seasoned wood in stoves. Never burn anything that has been treated or painted,

• trim candle wicks so they don’t smoke,

• use fragrance-free cleaning products. Look for those with low VOCs. Don’t use near people with breathing difficulties,

• don’t use air freshener; open windows instead,

• use roll-on instead of spray deodorant,

• keep lids on cooking pots. Lids save energy, lower emissions from gas hobs and lower damp, which encourages mould,

Read also: Hundreds flock to Oxford's new zero-waste event

• while cooking and cleaning, open windows to air,

• new furniture and carpets give off more fumes from formaldehyde than older furniture and carpets so air rooms regularly. Buy second-hand when possible,

• get houseplants to help the air at home. NASA research shows that ivy, spider plants and Peace Lilies help to remove some formaldehyde from the air.

Clean Air Day is on June 20. What will you do to make a difference?