Is your Home Healthy or Toxic? An intro to Building Biology with NoToxRox

BuildingBioJO1

The lovely Jo from NoToxRox checking out a potential abode (one we didn’t take) with her fancy gadgets.

As you guys know, I recently fled toxic city life for a countryside-esque change in the bushy Northern suburbs of Sydney. I felt an urge to be surrounded by nature, a healing environment – not only for Hana’s brain healing and but also for prevention of further tumour regrowth. My own yearning to be surrounded by nature had been increasing in intensity for over a year, and I knew I had to honour that and listen to it!

However, before investing in our dream property, I knew it was imperative to employ expert help in the choosing: I needed to be sure that the houses we were thinking of buying were as healthy as they looked regardless of babbling brooks  and bushy environs.

This is how I met Jo from No Tox Rox.

Below is some crucial information on building health, and an introduction to building biology. Click on the link to her website for more details.

Over to Jo:
What is building biology?
BB is a branch of environmental science that looks at the buildings we inhabit and the impact they have on our health and on the environment. So basically we look at everything in your home or office that can potentially make you ill.

As a building biologist, what do you do when checking out someone’s home?
Initially we get the client to fill out a questionnaire which gives us information on the age/condition of the building, health of the occupants, history of flooding, pollutants in the area etc. Then we conduct a room by room analysis of the property. The major factors we consider are:
Building materials and building design
Drinking and bathing water quality
Indoor air quality
Electromagnetic fields and radiation

If necessary we can take mould samples, water or lead samples and have these analysed by a lab. We can test air quality – measure levels of particulates, allergens and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which offgas from paint and furnishings and many products we use. We provide advice and recommendations on cleaning and personal care products, cookware, food storage, bedding, toys etc. We measure all the EMR generated from inside the house and coming from outside sources such as power lines, substations, mobile phone towers etc. We can consult on building projects and renovations and conduct pre-purchase audits to help people make the right decision when buying a home.

What can make a home healthy or unhealthy?

Many things can contribute to making a home unhealthy. Clutter and poor housekeeping can lead to lots of dust or mould. Poor building design can cause water leaks, not enough natural light and lack of ventilation can lead to musty, mouldy conditions. Old mattresses, pillows, and furnishings can contribute to allergies or skin conditions such as eczema. Peeling paint in old houses can often mean lead is a problem. Renovating can stir up a lot of toxic dust not to mention the new paint/stains/floors/furniture that can offgas flame retardants and VOCs for years. Cleaning with chemicals and anti-bacterials, using pesticides or herbicides can expose us to a whole range hormone disrupting chemicals and other toxins. Drinking unfiltered water can expose us to heavy metals and other contaminants which can affect our gut bacteria and impact many systems of the body. And electromagnetic fields caused by wireless devices, appliances, faulty wiring, stray currents etc etc can further pollute our indoor environment.

BuildingBioJO2

Jo, checking a bedroom wall for high currents with more fancy gadgets.

What is Dirty Electricity?
Dirty Electricity (DE) is the name given to High Frequency Voltage Transients (HFVS) that travel along our household wiring and radiate out causing high erratic EMFs which can affect our health. It is well known that DE can affect sensitive electronic equipment so companies ie. Data centres take measures to filter out DE. In the same way it can affect us. We are electrical beings. Every cell in our body transmits information electrically and DE can interfere or disturb these electrical signals. Our household wiring is designed to operate on clean electricity which is a smooth sine wave with a frequency of 50Hz (in Australia). DE is created when appliances, electronics, ground currents or stray currents from the street travel along our household wiring and spike thousands of times per second instead of 50 times per second. The main offenders are computers, TVs, game boxes, printers, copiers, fluorescent lights, CFLs, dimmer switches, vacuums, solar panel inverters, wind turbines, smart meters and electronics.

Why is WiFi most likely bad for our health?
WiFi like all Wireless technology –baby monitors, cordless phones, mobile phones, phone towers, smart meters etc operate in the microwave band or radiofrequency band of the electromagnetic spectrum. Because this radiation is non-ionising radiation and it can’t break DNA bonds it has long been believed to be harmless. The old way of thinking is damage only occurs when tissue heats up but we know now that biological damage can occur before there are any thermal effects. This type of radiation does cause biological effects such as damage to DNA, movement of calcium across cell membranes and other problems. The latest peer reviewed study (largest and most expensive animal study to date) conducted by the NTP just last month concluded that male rats exposed to radiofrequency radiation (RFR)like that emitted from a mobile phone were more likely to get brain and heart tumours than the unexposed rats. In 2011 The World Health Organisation classified RFR as possible carcinogenic to humans due to the weight of evidence suggesting it is unsafe. This prompted many countries around the world to adopt a precautionary approach to this kind of radiation, but not Australia.

Any tips on how to make our homes healthier?
Yes, there are a few things you can do that don’t cost a cent and that can dramatically improve your indoor environment.
Take your shoes off-When you wear shoes inside you are dragging in all sorts of biological contaminants and heavy metals such as lead dust and circulating it around your home.
Turn your WiFi off at night– With the flick of a switch you can reduce your exposure to RF radiation by a third by turning it off when you go to sleep.
Store food in glass not plastic-Chemicals such as BPA ( or similar replacement chemicals which are just as bad such as BPS)can leach from plastic. Storing your food in glass or stainless steel can prevent exposure to these hormone disrupting chemicals.
Ventilate– Open windows and doors every day and let the air circulate. Inside air is about 5 times more polluted than outside air.
Get some plants– Plants are nature’s air filters. They do a great job of cleaning toxins from the air and they brighten up any room.

Plenty more tips at www.notoxrox.com

Hey there, thanks for stopping by! I hope you found this info useful – I know I certainly did! It is great to have had Jo check out the house we finally bought as I can rest assured that it is a ‘safe’ place for healing and wellness. But if you are worried about the health of your home yet can’t move –  it’s good to know you can improve the environment you have. More to come on that! Have you ever wondered how healthy your home is? Check in with me on Facebook for more on health and wellness as I continue to unlearn, or if you are super keen, why not sign up for blog email updates?

 

 

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