I recently moved into a new house, well, it’s an old house but it’s new to me! One thing I realized as I surfed facebook marketplace and items disappeared from it’s pages with “SOLD” signs was that everyone was either moving or remodeling. Pretty common right? Well, it’s not only summer, it’s also the first month coming out of Covid-quarantine.
Real estate is going crazy! All the people who couldn’t buy a home over the last few months are now running into the housing market. Including my husband and I, we paid more for our home during covid-19, our house had 10 offers placed in 3 days. This was before the market had even opened up, each one of those people who put an offer on (our house) hadn’t seen the house in person. Times are strange, the market is crazy and no one is slowing down but what about toxins? New pollens? Moisture content? It all affects our bodies and changes how our bodies react.
It makes sense, especially when you think about the toxins we ingest from the pesticides on fruits and vegetables and the very small but accumulative results it has on us over time.
So as you’re rushing around trying to buy a house or remodeling a house you just bought, keep the following things in mind on what to avoid breathing in or accidentally ingesting during a remodel:
Poison: It seems obvious but if you’ve just bought a house you won’t actually know what was left behind in all causes. We knew when we bought our house that the previous owners were leaving somethings behind, but we were surprised when we found a lot more hidden around the house. For example we didn’t open all the kitchen cabinets. Buying an older home that hasn’t been lived in recently could result in poisonous powders, liquids or even mouse droppings.
For us, it was all of the above, I wasn’t prepared for the white Borax powder (an old cleaning product used to kill rodents) spread inside and on top of all the kitchen cabinets to prevent mice. Obviously, it’s difficult to avoid having this powder go airborne when cleaning. Chemicals, like Borax and other cleaning/kill agents, do more than just irritate your skin and eyes, they are proven to affect your hormones. Not to mention being around mouse droppings, even breathing it in can cause Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome.
For this reason, to protect yourself and your hormones, cleaning with a mask on can help limit your exposure but not just any mask. To actually protect yourself, using an approved N95 Respirator Masks which keeps you safe from fine particles.
Lead: Found in drinking water or lead-based paint, lead can seriously affect your health and change your hormones. Homes used lead-based paint until 1978 and if ingested from water or frequently paint chipped areas like around window sills and door frames, it can directly affect you. Of course you can hire a lead abatement contractor but most of us would rather do it ourselves. Make sure you wear a mask when you strip it off, try to avoid sanding as it will make the lead air born through dust.
Mold: Mold grows in warm, damp conditions and spreads through airborne spores. Studies show that some mold can get more toxic than pesticides and plasticizers. Mold can play a large part in hormonal imbalances as it adds stress to your adrenal glands and will cause a spike in cortisol levels. Mold actually mimics estrogen.
You’re thinking, “well… I don’t have mold!” The fact is, you might not know it or you might get it in the future. Houses are prone to flooding, it’s one of the most common issues from bathrooms, broken pipes or actual weather related reason. The consequences are mold growth. This one of those cleaning elements best left to a professional to remove but if you’re going to attempt it, wear gloves and a mask, open windows for ventilation and do your research.
Asbestos: This mineral as been proven to be extremely dangerous, the smallest amount causing serious problems like asbestosis, mesothelioma cancer, and lung cancer. It isn’t directly linked to any affects on your hormones but survivors of peritoneal mesothelioma* do have direct effects on their hormones and possibly a better survival rate from this cancer because of their higher levels of oestradiol and progesterone according to a study you can see here.
*peritoneal mesothelioma is a cancer that develops in the lining of the abdomen, caused by ingesting asbestos fibers) possible hormonal effects
Asbestos was used in homes built before 1980 and this fibrous material isn’t easy to spot with the naked eye. It can be found in adhesives, tile flooring, isolations, paint, roofing and more. It’s important to remember that materials containing asbestos are fine if in good condition and untouched, but when they are disturbed with remodeling that they release their fibers. Sweeping or vacuuming asbestos dust will infect you, call a professional asbestos abatement contractor to keep yourself safe.
Radon: Radon isn’t everywhere but places like Colorado have mandatory testing for radon when buying a home. A fan is often installed to help the Radon escape because this radioactive gas caused by the natural decay of uranium can’t be smelled or tasted but it can cause health concerns. It’s known to be a leading cause of lung cancer, causing almost 21,000 deaths a year. Take a look at this Radon map so see if you should order a test kit and check your house.
Things to consider when moving to a new town, state, or country:
Do your research! This year we moved from California to Colorado to Michigan. Those were big changes on my body. Going from California with its Santa Anna winds and heat waves to Colorados extreme dryness, high altitudes and cold weather. Things that I wasn’t expecting that helped my hormones was less stress from the California traffic, and less allergies but the change to Colorado hit hard with being 7,220’ above sea level (we were in a mountain town outside of Denver). To keep my body in check, I had to drink more water and also not over exert myself with physical activities. The dryness set in right away too, with itchy skin and waking up feeling like I hadn’t had water in days. We solved this with a humidifier being on around the clock.
The take away from this is, a lot of things will change and without talking to locals in the area or trying to research it on the internet, your body will suffer. Eventually it will regulate but being one step ahead and being proactive will make a big difference on how long your hormones and allergies suffer, not to mention these changes normally are a leading cause to colds and low immune systems. Fine unfiltered, unheated, raw honey produced within 50 miles or less of your new home to give your body a natural anti-allergy shot! This will boost your immune system and build immunity to your new surroundings.
It will be an adventure for sure!