Your Safe and Healthy Home, LLC

Your Safe and Healthy Home, LLC Indoor air quality testing, inspection, solutions and education. Our mission is to help people have healthier and safer homes and workplaces. Serving Northeast Ohio, Toledo area, Greater Columbus and surrounding areas, Greater Pittsburgh and Western PA.
Helping you improve the health and safety of your home, your workplace, your family, and your associates.

Indoor air quality testing, inspection, solutions and education. Our mission is to help people have healthier and safer homes and workplaces.

These are all good things to be aware of. Some are quite easy, and some are downright scary: 1. If you have a house buil...
06/01/2019
8 Dangerous Secrets Your Home May Be Hiding

These are all good things to be aware of. Some are quite easy, and some are downright scary:

1. If you have a house built before 1978, assume that it has some lead paint, and take the proper precautions when disturbing paint, if you have peeling paint, carefully remove it, or hire a contractor that specializes in this. This is a highly regulated industry. If you have, or have family members that have, infants or small children you really need to pay attention to this.

2. Asbestos is often present in homes. This one is for sure for the pros. That ugly, but in great shape tile floor may very well have asbestos in it, or in the adhesives that attach it to the sub floor. ASSUME it is asbestos, and don't disturb it until you are ready to have a professional do the job. It is safe until it is damaged. I am more concerned when I run into suspect tapes or mastic or pipes on older HVAC installations. They almost always are already friable/damaged.

3. Radon is an easy one to learn more about for your particular area:
https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-07/documents/zonemapcolor.pdf

You can take that down to your county level. Some states including Ohio, have free testing available from the Department of Health. If you are in the Orange or Red zones, expect that you are in need of remediation, but there are kits to do it yourself.

4. Mold? VOC's? Carbon Monoxide? I know a guy! ME! Message or call with your questions, or just look at the posts on this site.

5. When it comes to pests whether the tiny ones like dust mites or bed bugs, to the big ones like raccoons, it comes down to not being the kind of place they want to or can easily enter. Poisons should be the last tool in your arsenal not the first. I don't do pest management, but I can give you some advice, and point you towards the right professionals.

The scary thing about any of these is not being aware of them, that is what will "get you", become aware, take action!

Incidentally, , JUNE is National Healthy Homes Month! So this post kicks it off with a bang!

Perhaps you have just moved into a new home. Or maybe you’ve lived in your house for a while and have started to uncover certain, shall we say, disturbing things about it. Whether you are a new or established homeowner, you don’t have to be living in the “Amityville Horror” house to realize ...

If the science was solid they wouldn't have to lie so damn much...
05/16/2019
Top 10 Global Warming Lies That May Shock You

If the science was solid they wouldn't have to lie so damn much...

The Environmental Defense Fund has assembled what it believes to be the ten most powerful global warming assertions in the alarmists’ playbook, yet each assertion either backfires on alarmists or has been proven false.

Asthma TriggersAs promised, here is something from the CDC on asthma triggers.  One thing I have learned in talking to m...
05/10/2019
Common Asthma Triggers | CDC

Asthma Triggers
As promised, here is something from the CDC on asthma triggers. One thing I have learned in talking to many individuals with asthma is that different individuals react differently, or not at all, to different triggers...but still those of us who are trying at the very least to "do no harm" should be aware and vigilant regarding our impact on those around us:

https://www.cdc.gov/asthma/triggers.html

Common Asthma Triggers

05/08/2019

May is Asthma Awareness Month
About 8.3% of Americans have Asthma...you probably have friends and family members and coworkers who have asthma...do you know who they are?

A lot of what triggers an asthma attack is something that we can control, especially in the built environment (our homes and workplaces).

Get to know the people in your life with Asthma, and try to make sure you contribute to a safer experience for them at your home or workplace.

What triggers an asthma attack is also often not good for anyone else either! Next up is Triggers! Share yours if you have asthma here, I will share yours and common triggers soon!

I just was talking to a potential client in Pennsylvania with 3 young children recently diagnosed with asthma...my heart...
04/30/2019
Household Molds Linked to Childhood Asthma

I just was talking to a potential client in Pennsylvania with 3 young children recently diagnosed with asthma...my heart goes out to her...I shared this with her:

https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/household-molds-linked-childhood-asthma

Three specific species of mold were more common in the homes of babies who later developed asthma. The finding highlights the importance of preventing water damage and mold growth in households with infants.

And then there were 8...What were the 7 "Keep its"/Healthy Homes Principles are now 8...Welcome to the party Thermal Com...
04/27/2019
Healthy Homes Principles | NCHH

And then there were 8...

What were the 7 "Keep its"/Healthy Homes Principles are now 8...Welcome to the party Thermal Comfort!

https://nchh.org/information-and-evidence/learn-about-healthy-housing/healthy-homes-principles/

Healthy Homes Principles Housing conditions can and should support good health. But what makes a healthy home environment? These healthy homes principles provide a framework for describing the critical components of a healthy home. Healthy homes are: Dry: Damp houses provide a nurturing environment....

I ran across this product and research a few years ago when searching for answers for a customer who has allergies and a...
04/22/2019
Nasal filter trial shows positive results for seasonal allergy management | AAAAI

I ran across this product and research a few years ago when searching for answers for a customer who has allergies and asthma. Looks like it is promising. I think, from my perspective, the relief from symptoms is only half the value of the product and research. The second part is the potential for determining what allergens/particulate the individual is exposed to at home, and/or at work. I can't tell how much they have looked at this yet from a quick read of this research.

For readers who suffer from seasonal or year round allergies and asthma this may be worth exploring with your physicians both from a treatment and a research participation standpoint.

Often time, when I get called into a house people have been suffering for a long time, we try to put together a time line of when it started or got worse, and pinpoint what changed around that time. We come up with operating theories of what might be the culprit, and work towards eliminating all the unhealthy "usual suspects" from the home. The process is good, and results are good, but often we still don't know what the real culprit was...and without some very expensive dust analysis we don't know what is present, and even with dust analysis we can't be sure what the individual is breathing in.

I don't have allergies or asthma, but I suspect that if you do, or someone in your life does, this will be even more interesting and important to you/them than it is to me!

Nasal filter trial shows positive results for seasonal allergy management

This is going to be my next project on my garage roof...and happily mine is in a lot better shape than many of my neighb...
04/06/2019
How to Remove Moss from Roof - Bob Vila

This is going to be my next project on my garage roof...and happily mine is in a lot better shape than many of my neighbors'.

Moss may look quaint atop your house, but it can greatly shorten a roof's lifespan. Remove moss in just 3 steps—and keep it off for good.

This little table is VERY helpful! I have MANY conversations with friends, family, and clients that start with "I don't ...
03/26/2019
Do you know the difference between cold symptoms and seasonal allergies?

This little table is VERY helpful! I have MANY conversations with friends, family, and clients that start with "I don't know if it is a cold, or something seasonal, or even related to my home ..."

Well this should help!

Although colds and seasonal allergies share some of the same symptoms, they are very different diseases. Learn how to tell the difference.

03/15/2019

Your Safe and Healthy Home will be greeting this evening at the Stark County Home and Garden show...come see us!

To my readers, please DO NOT disregard my previous posts regarding the importance and health benefits of ventilation.  I...
02/21/2019
Connection between home energy efficiency and respiratory health in low-income homes

To my readers, please DO NOT disregard my previous posts regarding the importance and health benefits of ventilation. I haven't dug into the methodology of this study yet, but it flies in the face of every other study I've read. EXCEPT, one caveat I ALWAYS put into my recommendations is this...the ONLY time that increased ventilation isn't good is if the OUTSIDE AIR IS WORSE THAN THE INSIDE AIR.

I can see several possibilities here:
1. The people are increasing their ventilation rates (opening windows) BECAUSE they are already have a cough/health issues (correlation studies will do that to you).
2. The outdoor air pollution in Denver may be very bad.
3. The ventilation may be resulting in drawing immediate replacement air from basements/crawlspaces/wall cavities that have specific contaminants like: pesticides, mouse/roach droppings, etc.

Reported symptoms is a lot less rigorous of a study than actual contaminant concentrations....the follow up study should include air analysis, and actual health conditions/diagnoses of the people reporting the symptoms.

For sure, in densely populated cities in China, ventilation with untreated outdoor air would be a bad choice. In most places in America, that would not be the case.

More to follow!

A team of investigators from the Colorado School of Public Health at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus and the University of Colorado Boulder has identified that people living in homes with high ventilation are more likely to suffer from respiratory health issues such as asthma.

I had a very good week of 6 inspections...and a lot of affirmation that my work is not done! If you have been following ...
02/17/2019

I had a very good week of 6 inspections...and a lot of affirmation that my work is not done!

If you have been following me, this won't be new to you, if you are new to this page, it will be new...but I don't think if I beat this drum daily for the rest of my life that I will have reached as many people with the messages as need to read it/hear it:

1. Do a walk around in your home, basement, crawlspace, attic, and attached garage. Look for: paint, varnish, adhesives, uninstalled flooring/shingles, and reservoirs of ancient cleaning products.
2. These are the things that if I were to come to your house, I would tell you to move out of the house, and/or install an exhaust fan in the area they are stored to continuously run to exhaust the fumes being off gassed. These are the things that if I did Volatile Organic Testing (VOC) I would detect. These are the things that hurt you in the short term with irritations of the nose, throat, eyes, and skin, and in the long term could lead to much more serious things including cancer.
3. If you have an attached garage, install continuous exhaust ventilation. Install a digital Carbon Monoxide detector in the areas adjoining that attached garage.
4. If you have done a lot of work to either build an energy efficient home, or make your older home more so, DO 1 - 3 TODAY!

Share this with people you care about!

If you have questions, message me!

I had a couple of customers this week that illustrated the history of the mold testing and remediation industry.I think ...
01/27/2019

I had a couple of customers this week that illustrated the history of the mold testing and remediation industry.

I think humans have a tendency to go with great determination in one direction until we take it too far, and then either other humans or greater forces that guide the world, make us go in the opposite direction until we go far that way.

In the mold industry that has certainly been the case. In the beginning (not to sound Biblical) when I first started to interact with customers with mold problems it was pretty common for them to be displaced out of their home for weeks, and even months, while a mold remediation company under the direction of the Home Owners Insurance company remediated their mold problem. And some, or many, of those remediation companies may have acted in their own interests more than the customers'.

I used to hear mold guys say things like "don't worry, the customer isn't paying for it, so we can do more testing, more...., more...." And insurance companies acted to protect both their risk, and ideally their customers, so they specified and specified, and specified. They wanted to hold the mold guys accountable, and protect, but all those specifications COST MONEY. And I hope I am not the one to break it to you, but the truth of the matter is in the end YOU, ME, and WE ALWAYS PAY for it. Either in increased premiums, reduced coverages of such claims universally (that happened in mold big time), or just straight up uninsurable people or properties. And if you can't insure it, you probably can't buy it.

Now I rarely see people really displaced from their home during a mold remediation.

But another part of it is a whole movement away from doing ANY TESTING for mold. I was sharing some 3rd party guidelines for dealing with mold from the CDC, EPA, etc. with one of the customers from this past week. And they all really tell people testing isn't necessary.

I used to be a part of the "why test? if you have mold, clean it, remove it, there is no testing needed" wing of the industry.

But then I get the surprises....

I try to be mindful of the customer's finances, and balance that against the customer's needs for usable information.

No one invites me to their home because "things are just going so great, we are all healthy, and have a surplus of cash, so we just thought we'd throw you a bone"! Hasn't happened to me even once. There are problems, there are issues, there are worries that keep them up at night (along with the cough), there are theories to be tested.

The first customer had no glaring "smack you in the face" growths of mold that would take me down the "clean it with this, or let me refer a professional, and then we can test" path. Omnipresent surface mold would be a good way to describe it. But LOTS of health symptoms, and the house history had me very suspicious of potential past growths that were still effecting the person with those symptoms. And there were things done that should have closed off the paths that would link the active mold growths with the indoor environment (good flooring choices can protect you from problematic crawlspaces, as well as block soil gases and moisture).

So we tested. And the levels of Penicillium/Aspergillus were very high. The results changed the path forward. Both paths lead to a good outcome, the right one gets us there faster.

The second customer's situation was a classic. Somebody else took a whack at the plumbing leak and resulting mold, and didn't do any containment of the areas in question. We already know, because the insurance company is involved, that I was going to do testing before and after remediation. I don't have the results yet, but I know what they will be, it is just a case of the magnitude.

Kind of like an earthquake...is it a "shake your house" 3 on the Richter scale, or "change your life" 8?

So testing has its place. You can not test, and wonder why everyone has a stuffy nose, etc. or you can test and pick the right path to feeling better and protecting the your family's health, and protecting the biggest financial investment of your life.

01/20/2019
www.lung.org

January is National Radon Action Month
Although the month is 2/3 over it is still not to late to TAKE ACTION.

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the USA. It is estimated that it causes 21,000 deaths annually here. It probably is easier to take action on Radon than it is to quit smoking, but I hope you do both (if you or a loved one are a smoker)!

We have a great free opportunity to take action on Radon in Ohio, there may be similar programs in your state if you are in another one. Testing is the first thing you should do, and doing it free in Ohio is relatively easy.

https://marionpublichealth.org/radon/

This works throughout Ohio, Marion just had the best site!

Here is more information from the American Lung Association:

https://www.lung.org/assets/documents/healthy-air/national-radon-action-plan.pdf

01/15/2019
Farsight Management, Inc.

NE Ohio IAQA Chapter meeting February 1, Noon to 2pm. Best of National IAQA Tech Presentations! Please RSVP to Bob, or me. Free to attend, $5 for Pizza and Pop!

The next meeting of the Northeast Chapter of the IAQA will be February 1 at the Stark County Builder Industry Association office. The presentation will be on the most memorable technical papers presented at the IAQA conference next week in Atlanta. If you go, try to find me.

I was in an attic yesterday that had some issues with inadequate ventilation, and it made me think about the magazine ar...
01/13/2019
Top Ten Air Vent Tips for Roofers From the Field

I was in an attic yesterday that had some issues with inadequate ventilation, and it made me think about the magazine article I was asked for commentary (see below).

Often we ignore the places that are hardest to get to....attics and crawlspaces. Sometimes, based on what I see in them, I think the harder the builder makes it to get into a space, the more likely it is they leave stuff that they should have thrown in a dumpster and disposed of (paint cans, construction debris, and worse).

While it is true, if a roof leaks, or condenses and causes problems in the attic including mold, you eventually will find out by wet spots on the ceiling below that attic, the problem is by then a $100 problem has become a $15000 problem, along with the potential safety (electrical, ceiling falling on bed) and health issues that can come with it.

I haven't seen it done, but I think there is a market for "baby monitor" like security cameras in spaces that need to be checked periodically, but aren't easy to access. But then what would, I do? Well I guess when you see something that needs attention you call....but I'd rather get that call than "the ceiling just fell on my head, I think there might be a problem".

https://www.roofingcontractor.com/articles/93130-top-ten-air-vent-tips-for-roofers-from-the-field

The tips featured here are collected from roofing professionals in residential attic ventilation seminars across North America.

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