Thursday, January 6, 2011

Tip #30 to Prevent Mold Growth

If you have a flood, a water incident that affects the kitchen, say from a plumbing leak or a nearby wash machine that overflows from the utility room…

You call your insurance company and a water damage restoration company to dry things out. No problem. They have 24-72 hours to get things dry. After that mold will grow. They will bring in lots of big and fancy (and expensive) blowers and drying equipment.

Yes, they will get the walls dry…on the outside.

But what about the walls behind and next to kitchen cabinets? This is the last place things dry because the air from the blowers can’t reach them. Note: some companies will drill holes in the bottom of the kick plates under the cabinets and inject air. This is a good thing and might work. But given, in general, behind the cabinets is often a place where mold ends up growing.)

Here’s a preventative measure:

When building the house, don’t install the cabinets until the contractor has cut out the bottom 2 inches of drywall where the walls meets the floor, behind and next to any cabinetry.

You see, mold loves drywall (a.k.a sheetrock), the white-board walls are constructed out of. There’s a paper backing on sheetrock that’s baby food for mold. Water wicks up drywall and gets stuck between the cabinet and the wall in places where air from the dryers can’t blow.

If you cut off the bottom two inches of drywall off before the cabinets are installed, water can’t wick up the wall, and mold cannot grow on the sheet rock. The exception would be if you get standing water in your house greater than two inches. Most floods from leaky pipes don’t go that high and if they do you have bigger problems.

To read more about how to prevent Mold read my book, Healthy Living Spaces: Top 10 Hazards Affecting Your Health

Or see the free information in the on-line resource library at

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Biggest Secret !

You see it all the time, at the grocery store and on-line… products that claim to kill or eradicate mold.

But do these products work? Are they necessary?

The simple answer is a big NO.

Why then do professional mold remediators use bleach and other chemical sanitizers?

Because consumers expect them to use them and think that if they don’t use them you might think they are not doing their job properly. The simple truth is that if mold is effectively removed, there is nothing left to kill. (For details on how to effectively remove mold see Chapter 1 in Healthy Living Spaces: Top 10). In fact, if the contractor performing the mold remediation went to a good school to learn his craft, he would have been taught that biocides, including bleach should not be used. Using them is not only not necessary, the use of biocides may cause new problems that you didn’t have before.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Let it Drip...Tip #27 for Preventing Mold growth

Tip #27 for Preventing Mold Growth

Water it and they will grow. Want to prevent mold? Then prevent water problems.

A common occurrence in the winter is pipes bursting when they freeze. (If you live somewhere really cold this is probably common sense to you. But here in Santa Fe where it’s only a little cold (zero degrees is cold for us) and it’s not as well known…

When you go away on holiday and won’t be home for a few days, simple turn on the kitchen sink faucet (don’t forget to make sure the sink drain is not stopped) and allow the water to slowly drip. We're talking drip, drip, drip; not a steady stream of water. This slow dripping will prevent the pipes from freezing and thereby prevent toxic mold problems that can occur when pipes burst and no one is home to turn off the water and dry out the mess.

For more tips on how to prevent mold growth and moisture problems, including a story of how I found and removed toxic mold from my grandmother’s house (they thought she had Alzheimer’s disease because her the mold problem was effecting her memory) see Chapter 1 in
Healthy Living Spaces: Top 10 Hazards Affecting Your Health

Visit our reference library at Healthy Living

Healthy Living Spaces
(505) 992-9904

Monday, December 27, 2010

If it sounds too good to be true…

If it sounds too good to be true…

I usually don’t watch TV. I don’t own one. But while staying with family over the holidays and sitting around watching the boob tube I saw a commercial that shows just how far we’ve come.

This commercial was for a bracelet that you wear that is supposed to protect you from electromagnetic fields (EMF) and other harmful environmental hazards when you wear it. The commercial trys to demonstrate that the product is effective by showing people wearing them being muscle tested.


While I believe in “Muscle Testing”, also known as “Applied Kinesiology” and “Autonomic Response Testing (ART)” just because you test strong when you are muscle tested doesn’t mean the product works as claimed. In Chapter 4 of Healthy Living Spaces: Top 10 Hazards Affecting Your Health, I show an example of how to do muscle testing to find healthy cleaning products at the grocery store since most products don’t list all the ingredients on the label. But just because a product is safe, i.e. your body does not have a negative reaction to it, does not mean the product helps improve your health or protect you from harmful stuff including electromagnetic fields.

What this commercial and similar products are proving by muscle testing is that it’s safe to wear the bracelet, charm, pendant, quantum cell protector, EFX Silicone Sport Wristband, Clarus QLink® and other gadgets; not that they protect you from anything.

Incidentally, you don’t need to buy and wear a special bracelet or pendant, ring or other type of jewelry or gadget to “protect” yourself.

Case in point, we’ve tested people in blind studies using some of these types of products and found some people reacted negatively to them; others didn’t notice any difference wearing them.

Most interesting of all, we people noticed the most difference (felt they were most “protected”) when we had them simply image a bubble of protection surrounding them vs. when they wore the stuff. When they imagined a bubble of protection surrounding them, they tested strongest when muscle tested when exposed to EMFs from electrical power.

So next time you’re worried about EFMs, cell phone radiation, or something similar, and are thinking about buying a gadget to protect yourself, simply say to yourself:

“ I now surround myself in a bubble of protection.
I am protected from all [electromagnetic fields].
I am surrounded by a bubble of protection.

For more information on how to really protect yourself from environmental hazards, including electromagnetic fields and cell phone radiation, visit our reference library at Healthy Living or buy the book, Healthy Living Spaces: Top 10 Hazards Affecting Your Health, now on sale at and other retailers.

Healthy Living Spaces
(505) 992-9904

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What will our Children Do?

I keep seeing ads for solar panels. Pictures with solar panels installed on the roof of peoples homes. Pictures of solar panels in the yard with kids playing next to them. That got me to people touting solar energy realize just how toxic it is to make a single solar panel. Do they understand how toxic the dust would be if they broke just one solar cell (there can be hundreds in a solar panel). What will our children do someday, then these panels break down or become obsolete and end up in the trash, just like our used cell phones and lap-top computers? Just how green are these solar panels in terms of the toxic waste generated during their creation and the disposal when they become old.

As with most "green" activities, I suspect this has not been thought through. Or maybe the thinking is similar to the Sierra Club's position on compact, energy saving light bulbs - we know they contain mercury, one of the most toxic substances known to man, but its' only a small amount of mercury (if you break a single light bulb in your home the mercury vapor level in will violate federal air quality standards) but its worth it.

Here's a better idea:

Has anyone noticed how windy it's been lately. I don't know if this is due to climate change or is the norm, but there's always some wind. Generating electricity with wind power (wind mills) is much more environmentally friendly than solar. No silicon wafer, solar panel cells need to be processed, a wind mill cost a LOT less than a solar panel, and wind mills often produce more power than solar panels.

I lived in a house that had both solar panels and a wind mill and often, even with the solar panels turning to track the sun, it was the wind mill that produced the most power.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Controlled Burns Kill

Regarding the smoke generated from controlled burns, the Forest Service does seem to get it. How much is a human life worth? Do they realize smoke from these burns causes people to have heart attacks, if not during the burns, possibly some time after the burn as a result of small smoke particles bypassing any protection your lungs have to offer, getting into the blood stream and reaking havoc with the heart? (photo credit above the New Mexian News article link about controlled burns)

What good is an advisory warning to people who can not just up and move out of town or even out of state when there controlled burns are going on? People may die from this stuff.

What can you do to protect yourself other than go to your second vacation home in another state (as officials seem to suggest you do) :) ....

Staying indoor helps but air from outside will penetrate to the inside:
Get a good HEPA air purifier. The only one tested down to 0.01 microns (the size of smoke particles) is the IQAir Health Pro. I recommend the Healthy Pro Plus.

For more information visit the reference library at Healthy Living Spaces

And read the article about wood smoke being worse for your health than cigarettes.

Contact us at Healthy Living Spaces
(505) 992-9904

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Gulf of Chernobyl

The Gulf oil spill is a tragic disaster. Birds, fish and wildlife are not the only ones effected. Residents not just on the coast, but near the coast, are reporting oily-like, gas odors in the air that can cause headaches and nausea. Basically, the air quality in these parts is going to be worse than living next to a gas station.
Staying indoors may not offer much help because over time outdoor air permeates indoors.

Healthy Living Spaces can perform air quality testing for these chemical odors and offer some advice on reducing the levels and making the indoor air healthier to breathe. One way is to use an air purifier that has a ton of carbon in it. Carbon is what traps chemicals. Don't be fooled by gimicks and gadgets that claim to clean the whole house. You need to keep that air purifier in your bedroom or office and run it a high speed. It's got to have a fan and move a lot of air through the carbon media. The only brand we recommend is the IQAir Healthy Pro plus.

Next, it also helps to have a whole house air filter. It too, must have a ton of carbon to remove any odors and chemicals. Remember, a HEPA filter is nice but a HEPA filter removes dust particles, not odors. You need both - a HEPA with carbon.

Contact Healthy Living Spaces for more information and product recommendations or read all about how you can choose and install an whole-house air purifir that makes the air healthy to breathe in the new edition of Dan Stih's Healthy Living Spaces: Top 10 Hazards Effecting Your Health, available on

Read chapter: Recommendations - Furnace filters, Air Purifiers.