One Out of Five Homes Causes Symptoms
Many homeowners are surprised to learn that energy upgrades also address many indoor air-quality issues that are associated with a range of medical symptoms: asthma, bronchitis, flu symptoms, neurological conditions, heart conditions and a host of inflammatory responses such as hives, edema, arthritis, and other allergy symptoms. The average home with a forced-air HVAC system has 30% duct leakage, which not only pumps conditioned air energy dollars out, it also causes your home to draw toxins in, such as fiberglass from the attic and molds from the crawlspace. In homes with a crawlspace, forty percent of the so-called “fresh air” comes from the crawlspace. According to a recent EPA study, indoor air-quality is up to 10 times more toxic than outdoor air.*1 So it is not surprising that there has been a 75% increase in respiratory problems in the last three decades.*2 Duct leakage is most acute in homes built before 2000. According to Lawrence Livermore Labs, it usually stems from the use of conventional “duct tape”, the dull, silver tape that has been used since the 1940’s, which has failed due to temperature cycling and is now illegal (for ducts) in the state of California.*3 Often allergic responses are triggered by molds which grow rapidly if moisture accumulates indoors due to inadequate ventilation; so vapor from showers and cooking, as well as “vapor drive” entering the home through the crawlspace, are critical factors to mitigate.
It is important to be aware that some individuals have a genetic sensitivity to mold toxins and Lyme toxins. These individuals may not express symptoms until they have an exposure (mold or Lyme/tick bite) and have a stressor (mental or physical). When these three key components converge, the gene basically turns on and the individual’s natural systems that would normally dispose of the toxins no longer recognizes the toxins as such. This allows the toxins to remain in the body unchecked.
In many cases, toxin levels in a home are thousands of times higher than the body’s ability to control and eliminate them.
Over time the toxin load can wreak havoc and typically does so in multiple systems of the body, resulting in Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS). While statistics show that 24% of the population has the genomic predisposition to CIRS or Lyme, less than 1% of the population has specific symptoms activated by bio toxins. Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome manifests itself differently in different individuals relative to the mix of bio-toxins found in the specific environment. (See survivingmold.com)
*1 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Study, (2008) An Introduction to Indoor Air Quality: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/ia-intro.html
*2 National Institute of Health, Fact Sheet Asthma Statistics: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/prof/lung/asthma/asthstat.pdf
*3 Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (1998) Anything But Duct Tape: http://www.lbl.gov/Science-Articles/Archive/duct-tape-HVAC.html