It sometimes starts after someone moves into a new or freshly remodeled house. For no apparent reason, the occupant begins to notice a variety of physical symptoms. At times, breathing becomes difficult. Wheezing and coughing often occur. The person begins to suffer from headaches, sore throats, muscle aches and brain fog. But strangely, the symptoms seem to improve after he or she leaves home for a few hours.
So, what’s going on?
The more time spent in the home, the more obvious it becomes that something is triggering asthmatic or allergy symptoms…or even something worse. The symptoms continue to pile on until there is an overwhelming sense that something is really wrong.
Toxic Homes: What You Should Know
As surprising as it may sound, your house may be making you sick. Jeffrey May, author of My House Is Killing Me says, “The whole concept of indoor pollution is pretty new.” May, who is an expert in the dangers of indoor air pollution, states that “For a long time, our focus was on what was going on in the environment outside our homes. But in the last decade or so, we’ve realized that the indoor environment can be making you sick.”
Unfortunately, even though we often consider our home space as our safe haven, many houses are built with toxic materials. Dangerous fumes are constantly emitted. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), building materials can cause from two to five times more indoor pollution than actually exists outside.
In fact, did you know that poor indoor air quality in many homes is the equivalent of sitting in rush hour traffic for an hour while breathing in the toxic fumes of several hundred cars?
Paints, carpeting, particle board, plywood, adhesives, glues, stains, finishes, synthetic flooring, cleaners, and a whole host of other chemically laden products are commonplace in the average home. Chemicals such as formaldehyde, benzene, phenol, and thousands of other toxic chemicals are routinely laced throughout thousands of these products.
Dr. Stacy Lafferty of the Tigerd Holistic Health Clinic states: “Over 87,000 synthetic chemicals have been developed since World War II and it is not known whether the human body has the ability to successfully metabolize many of them. All Americans have hundreds of these chemicals stored in their fat. Synthetic chemicals are associated with increasingly common diseases such as cancer, lupus, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and autism. Synthetic chemicals often mimic natural hormones and block or alter the production of natural hormones and enzymes in the body.”
Within the last 30 years there has been researched-based proof as well as a plethora of anecdotal evidence that modern illnesses related to toxic exposures have appeared in growing numbers. A whole host of environmentally related syndromes have emerged such as Environmental Illness, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Sick Building Syndrome, Asthma, Allergies, cancer, respiratory conditions, hormone disruption, and neurological conditions. Damage to bodily organs can occur and even death in some cases.
Healthy Homes: What You Can Do
So what’s the solution?
Ideally, it’s best to build a safe, healthy house from the ground up. But that’s isn’t always possible.
If you’re living a toxic house now and already experiencing health reactions to it, it’s important to deal with it right away. The first step is to locate the problem and work on solving it. (Of course, in serious cases, it’s best to leave the house until the issue is solved.)
For example, if you know that the new carpet you just installed is causing runny noses, wheezing, coughing, burning eyes, headaches and dizziness, the best thing to do is to simply remove the entire carpet. This, of course, can be costly but good health is more important in the long run.
You can systematically replace a lot of the most toxic materials and eventually create a much safer, healthier house in which to live.
For those who have sustained serious chemical exposures, it’s also wise to consult a healthcare professional who is experienced in environmental medicine. Living in a toxic home can be a serious matter that demands attention for your health’s sake.