Mold and Sick House Syndrome

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Mold and Sick House Syndrome

People spend the majority of their time inside, especially in Upstate New York and yet they are unaware of the dangers of Sick House Syndrome. It occurs in homes and buildings that are tightly sealed to prevent cold air from entering and noise. Homeowners would think that this would be a good thing, however unfortunately this also prevents harmful fumes from paints, cleaning products, burning wood and deodorizers from escaping. Sick House Syndrome refers to a number of ailments that occur as a result of long periods of exposure to harmful chemical toxins at a home or work building. Some of the main conditions associated with Sick House Syndrome occur as a result of homes or building being well-sealed, errors in heating and air conditioning, along with poor ventilation systems that contain indoor air toxins. Chemicals from the outdoors, such as exhaust from vehicles can be sucked indoors through HVAC systems and can mix with indoor chemicals such as cleaning products.

It is defined as an illness characterized by skin irritations, headache, and respiratory problems that are caused by indoor pollutants, inadequate ventilation, and microorganisms, which include mold. Some of the toxins that may be present in "sick" buildings include synthetic fibers in furniture and often formaldehyde used in manufacturing, pet dander, dust mitesmold and mildewcigarette smoke, VOCs, carpet and gasses released from fabric.

Several studies show that the air in our homes should be changed ten times per day, if it is any less than it causes build-up of dangerous pollutants.
Here are some tips to help prevent Sick-House Syndrome
·         Make sure to have the proper ventilation – Open the windows whenever possible (even if you are only able to crack it open, that will suffice). Make sure that all vents are not blocked.
Another problem that lack of ventilation can cause is mold and mildew growth. This is found to be a danger not only to your health, but it can also damage the structure of your home.
Areas of your home such as kitchens and bathrooms with humidity need to have the proper ventilation. Also, check areas such as the attic, and underneath floors for proper air circulation. If you have a humidity problem upstairs, it probably means that the attic or roof space does not have enough ventilation.
·         Limit the use of Artificial Scents/Pleasant Odors
Everybody wants for their home to smell nice, and a home that is well ventilated will smell pleasant. However, you will have unpleasant odors once in a while and you need to make sure to not become overenthusiastic in using perfumes and artificial scents that add more pollutants to the air.
Aerosols, in particular, are not eco-friendly and often contain nasty additives such as formaldehyde. Do not try and mask a bad odor with a “fresh” smell that is actually a chemical which will further pollute the air. A diffuser with a pleasant essential oil* added such as peppermint or lavender, is a great way to make your home smell better and naturally. In addition, peppermint and lavender help with allergies, with peppermint helping you to breathe and lavender aids with inflammation of your sinus cavities. Also, brighten up your home with some fresh flowers, they not only liven up your d├ęcor, but also make a room smell lovely. Try to keep chemical-laced cleaners, and perfumed products to a minimum, and use natural products as much as possible.

*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not tended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. 

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