Winter Healthy Home Threats

Winter Healthy Home Threats Occur in Every Home

Winter with its cold and often wetter weather presents unique healthy home threats that differ from other seasons throughout the year.

What is a healthy home threat?

A healthy home threat is something that challenges our efforts in creating a healthy home. It might be something that undermines what we’ve done, or perhaps something that needs to be considered to prevent issues.

Which Challenges Does Winter Bring?

I like to start with looking at the way that our behaviours change with the seasons, as well as the climatic conditions. 

The drop in temperatures, the increase in rain in many parts of the country, the advent of snow in the ranges, and the shorter daylight hours tend to see us:

  • Be indoors more of the time
  • Use heating
  • Perhaps light the fire, especially for date night 
  • Close windows and doors to keep the cold out and heat in
  • Draw curtains and blinds for more hours due to the earlier sunset
  • We wear more layers of clothing
  • Our clothes are thicker 
  • We may need to dry our clothes inside due to inclement weather
  • We often eat soups, stews and roasts – making the most of our ovens
  • Some people bathe more often or take longer and hotter showers to warm up

 You may be surprised to discover that all of these behaviours can create healthy home threats.

 Let’s take a look at the threats and what can be done to reduce any issues.

frost on green leaves - winter healthy home threats

Reduced Indoor Air Quality

When we “close up” our homes (closing windows and keeping doors shut) to keep the heat in, we’re reducing the number of times that the air is exchanged. This means that the air doesn’t get diluted often, if at all, which can result in reduced indoor air quality.

What happens is that VOCs, gases and other contaminants build up in the air. Oxygen levels often are reduced and carbon dioxide can increase – leading to feelings of sleepiness.

Ventilation is key.


  1. The simplest thing to do is to leave windows open just a tiny bit, as long as it is safe to do so, can dilute the air well.
  2. Regularly opening windows and doors several times throughout the day will exchange the air, and I recommend that this is done at least 3 times a day, and preferably every hour or two.
  3. If it isn’t possible to do this 2-3 times a day, then an air purifier would also assist.

Carbon Monoxide Build-Up

There’s a big difference between carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. 

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is one of the gases that we exhale. 

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a deadly gas that comes from combustion – gas appliances are one of the biggest contributors to CO levels within our homes. Cars are another big source, which is why I don’t like people idling their cars in their garages or driveways.

Since we’re using gas appliances more during winter – heating, cooking, hot showers – there’s an increased risk.


  1. Have your gas appliances checked by a licensed gas fitter every autumn so that they are ready for use in winter.
  2. Ventilate your home often – as discussed above.
  3. Avoid idling your car in the garage or driveway.

Poor Outdoor Air

The levels of outdoor air pollution can become very high in areas where people rely on wood fires for heating.

The smoke produced by wood fires can contain formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, chemicals (some of which are known carcinogens) and fine particulate matter. 

According to the Environment & Human Health Inc. (n.d.) wood smoke “interferes with normal lung development in infants and children… can depress the immune system… [and, according to the WHO] can cause coughs, headaches, eye and throat irritation in otherwise healthy people.” 

Whilst enclosed wood fires, such as Coonaras, don’t release the pollutants indoors, they are still released outdoors, and can readily affect your neighbours, particularly who are sensitive and/or have asthma or other respiratory complaints.


  1. Avoid using wood fires.
  2. Rug up and/or be physically active – this is a great time of year to get big gardening jobs done.
  3. Invest in an air purifier to help clean your indoor air.

Increased Moisture Levels

Did you know that “occupant activity” is one a big factor in indoor moisture levels?

The obvious ones are bathing, drying clothes, and stovetop cooking. However, occupant activities that increase moisture also include using gas appliances, breathing and sweating (or perspiring).

Given we tend to not only wear more layers in winter, but also the layers are thicker, they take longer to dry. As a result, many people dry them inside near a source of heat, or pop them in the clothes dryer.

Combine our tendency to be indoors in winter with these activities, then add to it the closed windows and doors, you can see how quickly moisture levels can increase.


  1. Monitor the levels of relative humidity with a hygrometer – we’re aiming for 45-55% RH; 50% RH is ideal.
  2. Use extractor fans when cooking, bathing or laundering. 
  3. If your extractor fans don’t vent to the outside, or you don’t have efficient ones, then a dehumidifier can be useful.
    clothes dryer and shelves - winter healthy home threats

    Mould on Windows & Curtains

    In the cooler months, many people report condensation on windows and glass doors especially in the mornings.

    This happens because glass changes temperature quickly, and moisture in the air condenses out of it, forming condensation on this, and other, cold surfaces.

    It is due to the presence of this moisture that mould can readily form on blinds or curtains that touch the glass, and even on the glass itself.


    1. Dry your windows daily with a dry bamboo microfibre cloth.
    2. Dry glass that is high up using a flat mop.
    3. Leave your windows open a little to equalise the temperature.

    Increased Exposure to EMF/EME

    Spending more time indoors can also increase your exposure to EMF/EME if you have wi-fi or use wireless devices.

    Wireless technology is used in smart meters, Bluetooth equipment, smartphones and tablets, 3G, 4G & 5G, phone towers, home stereo systems, and more.


    1. Head outdoors to “discharge” and “ground.”
    2. Do without wi-fi and other wireless devices.
    3. Turn the wi-fi and wireless devices on only when you need them, ensuring they are off while you sleep.


    home office - winter healthy home threats

    As you can see, 

    Winter Healthy Home Threats Occur in Every Home – to Varying Degrees

    I trust that you are feeling empowered to take the relevant action in your home.


    If you’d like to get some advice on this, then please book a call.

    How Working From Outside is Beneficial to Your Health

    This post was written by Griffin Parrish, an intern at Siege Media. He's drawn on reputable sources to back up his work and what he's written for us is so inspiring.

    Of course, I would also add cautions around wireless technology, and encourage everyone to connect to the internet via ethernet (cables).



    Health Benefits of Working From Outside

    With an increasing number of people working from home, some are taking it to the next level by working from outside. With a variety of mental and physical health benefits, taking your work outside is a great way to improve your daily life. Whether you take your laptop to a park or work from your backyard or balcony, there are many ways to transform your work life for the better.

    What Does It Mean to Work From Outside?

    Working from outside (WFO) is a new trend in working from home – where you can complete your daily work outside in a natural environment. WFO is especially easy for those who already work from home. Without being tied down to a specific office building, you can easily find a place to work without being trapped indoors.

    Examples of WFO locations include:

      • Coffee shops with outdoor seating
      • Parks
      • Backyards
      • Balconies
      • Pergolas, porches, patios

    By working outside in nature, you can reap the benefits of being outdoors without falling behind in your job.

    What Are the Benefits of Working From Outside?

    In a traditional office setting, many workers spend all day stuck indoors. It is estimated that the average person spends 90% of their time inside

    Spending all day sitting inside without any exposure to sunlight or fresh air can be detrimental to your mental and physical health. 

    Read along to learn how swapping your indoor office for an outdoor workspace can positively impact your health and wellbeing.

    Increased Energy Levels

    By exposing yourself to fresh air and sunlight when WFO, you can naturally increase your energy levels. Rather than relying on stimulants like coffee or energy drinks, moving your workspace outside is a great way to naturally feel more energetic

    With the natural energy you gain from working outside, you won’t have to worry about a caffeine crash later in the day.

    Reduced Feelings of Anxiety

    Spending time outdoors is linked to several mental health benefits. One of the major benefits of WFO is reduced feelings of stress and anxiety

    Whether you take a short outdoor walk between meetings or move your computer outside for the day, being out in nature is a great way to feel calm and elevate your mood.

    Decreased Exposure to Indoor Air Pollutants

    In an indoor environment, air pollutants are two to five times more common than in the outdoors. 

    Consistent exposure to indoor air pollution can lead to various negative health effects, including:

      • Eyes, nose, and throat irritation
      • Headaches
      • Dizziness and fatigue
      • Respiratory diseases
      • Cancer 

    By WFO and limiting your time indoors, you can decrease your exposure to these harmful pollutants, therefore decreasing your risk for health issues.

    plastic free

    Boosted Feelings of Creativity

    In addition to spending time WFO, walking outside can also lead to improved brain function. By taking short walks periodically throughout your workday, you can experience an estimated 60% increase in creativity and problem-solving skills. 

    To maximise these benefits, try walking to your favorite outdoor work location instead of driving.

    Increased Happiness

    When trading your indoor office space for the great outdoors, you will notice an increase in your happiness levels. Even if you’re only outside for as little as 30 minutes per week, it has been proven that it can decrease your depression by 7%

    With an improved mood, the workday will be more enjoyable and go by faster.

    Lower Blood Pressure

    In addition to increased levels of happiness, spending 30 minutes outdoors per week can also decrease your risk of high blood pressure. High blood pressure can lead to many adverse health effects including:

      • Headaches
      • Vision problems
      • Fatigue
      • Heart palpitations
      • Shortness of breath

    By reducing your time spent indoors, you can help decrease your risk of heart disease and other high blood pressure symptoms.

    Natural Pain Relief

    When compared to those who spent their time indoors, people who regularly spent time outside had reduced levels of inflammation

    Rather than spending your time inside and continually reaching for pain medication, WFO can provide you with natural pain relief.

    Better Cognitive Function

    While WFO, you may notice yourself becoming more productive. This is no coincidence, as spending as little as an hour outside has been linked to a 20% improvement in memory and attention span. 

    By WFO, you are not only improving your mental and physical health, but also your performance.

    Tips For Creating an Outdoor Workspace

    Now that you know all of the benefits that WFO can provide, you may be wondering how you can successfully work from your outdoor space. 

    Check out this helpful infographic from Angi to learn more about how you can create a comfortable and effective WFO space.

    Work From the Outdoors

    Infographic by


     Included directly via hyperlinks.

    If you'd like more information on how to set this up safely
    – avoiding hidden hazards, then book a call with Lucinda today.

    Support Your Health by Creating a Healthy Home

    Perhaps you’ve heard about “healthy homes” and wondered how a home could support your health?

    Or maybe you’ve wondered what you could do to create a healthy home?

    And, if you’ve been with me for a while, you’ll likely just be eager for more strategies to support your health.

    Please know, that no matter where you’re at, every step you take is a step in the right direction.

    Let's get started.

    Does Your Home Support Your Health?

    It could be! You don’t have to be bed-bound to be experiencing the effects of hidden hazards in your home – you might be fit and well but feel a bit off at times.

    Since there are so many signs and symptoms which may suggest your home could be hampering your health, and many of these may also have medical causes… The best thing to do is to start by observing.

    Here’s my key question: do you feel better when away from your home?

    From my experience with clients over the last 9 years, the vast majority have reported that when they spend time away from their homes, their symptoms become less severe. For some, it’s almost instant. For others, it is gradual.

    What are some of the common symptoms when your home doesn't support your health?

    Given we’re all different, these will vary from person to person. However, here are some of the more common symptoms.

    • Headaches
    • Sore and/or dry eyes
    • Poor sleep
    • Heightened levels of stress or agitation
    • Sore and/or tight muscles
    • Feeling not quite right (aka malaise)
    • Foggy or muddled head
    • Low energy
    • Vertigo or losing balance (only when at home)
    • Grinding or clenching teeth (aka bruxism)
    • Runny nose
    • Depression, anxiety, rage, angry outbursts

    Please remember, there can also be medical causes for some of these, and these should also be ruled out – as some of the medical causes could be sinister.

    Let me tell you about Beth and Jo

    Beth and Jo were renting, and not long after moving into their new place, they began to feel unwell. Things got worse day by day, and eventually they both needed time off from work.

    Alarm bells started to ring for them when they found they felt worse when resting at home.

    Jo spent the days outside weathering the cold Melbourne winter.

    Beth felt so bad at home, she opted not to take time off – the fact was, she felt better there anyway.

    When I attended their home, it was clear that they had some big issues with water ingress and mould. They decided to break their lease and get out of there A.S.A.P.

    For Beth and Jo the link was super obvious. However, for many people, the changes can be subtle and not so readily noticed.

    Let's consider some easy (and free) ways that you can get started on right away.

    Cap Screen Time

    Studies have established there is a variety of adverse health effects linked to screen time. Apart from the more obvious ones such as dry eyes, there can be a range of other effects.

    The effects of shortwave light (SWL) from the LED lights in screens was studied by Israeli researchers, Green, et al, in 2017. They discovered that 2 hours of evening device use resulted in increased wakefulness at night, low-quality sleep, and suppressed melatonin production.

    But wait – there’s more!

    The research team also noticed symptoms the next day, including an elevated level of sleepiness, a decrease in the capacity to concentrate, poor mood, and reduced performance levels when performing actions.

    What also came to light (excuse the pun!) was that dimming the lights on the screen didn't make much difference to the aftereffects that they had observed.

    Here’s what I recommend –

    Reducing screen time in the evening by setting a curfew. In my home, we started by selecting a time that worked for everyone to “down phones/devices.” For us, it's 7:00PM. Find a time that works for your household and stick to it.

    Clean Your Air

    Australians spend between 90 and 95 percent of their time indoors (State of Knowledge, 2001).

    Knowing this can help us to understand the important role which our homes (and offices) have in our wellbeing.

    I was shocked to discover that many people rarely open windows and doors, and that occupants rely on the heating and cooling systems to control the indoor environment.

    This means that the indoor air is rarely (if ever) exchanged, and the result is that indoor air contaminants continuously increase. Often, too, I’ve seen a decrease in oxygen levels and an increase in carbon dioxide. There are statistics around that show that indoor air can be 5-10 times more polluted than outdoor air.

    Ventilation is key and done regularly, will allow indoor air to be exchanged with and refreshed by outdoor air.

    The quickest and easiest way to do this is to do a lap of your home, opening every single door and window. It can take as few as 2 minutes to exchange the air in your home. It is ideal to do this hourly.

    Down the Device

    Various exciting technologies over the last 15 years have made it easier for people to be hooked on their devices. Have you noticed anytime you have a question, you reach for your device and search for an answer?

    We've already touched on the shortwave light from LEDs in screens, but there’s more to it than that.

    Our energy, emotional and mental health can take a whack with the constant pings and interruptions when we’ve got an email, SMS or a notification from an app or social media. Our sleep is easily affected when we’ve seen/heard something distressing right before bed.

    One of my guiding principles is “the precautionary principle.” This means that something has to be proven to be safe, and unless it has, then I limit use or access to it.

    So while the scientists re debating the semantics about health vs biological effects, I choose to minimise my exposure to wireless radiation.

    Apart from the potential health risks, there are the mental and emotional health risks that most have already experienced. On top of this, I value quiet time to reflect, form my own opinions, and rest my eyes from the eternal scrolls…

    Thus, I recommend choosing times in your day where you are without your devices.

    Instead, you could go for a walk in nature (and bring in the many health benefits of Shin-Rin Yoku, or “forest bathing”), read a book or magazine, play a board game, draw, dance, sing, play… I’m sure you can easily find joyful ways to spend your time.

    BONUS TIP: Have a look at your screen time (your device measures this) and multiply it by 365 to see just how many hours (or weeks!!) you’re spending with your device. Then ponder what else you could do with that time.

    Creating a Healthy Home Can Support Your Health and Wellbeing

    Create an oasis for yourself at home in which you can feel safe, nourished, and happy…

    Knowing that your home does support your health.

    You can do this!

    And if you want my help…

    And if you'd like more tips, check this out.

    Time for New Habits

    The end of the year is a time when we look to create new habits.

    We reflect back on the year that we have had.

    And decide what we would like to do differently.

    Do you do that?

    I do.

    I love this practice and tend to do it way more often.

    Here’s are 5 new habits that support health!

    New Habit 1: Turn Off the Tech

    Research shows that evening use of devices containing LED lights in their screens can have a large effect on our wellbeing.

    Research out of Israel by Green, et al., discovered that 2-hours of evening exposure to these screens resulted in:

    • Increased waking through the night,
    • Poorer quality sleep, and
    • Suppressed melatonin production.

    The effects were also seen the following day, with:

    • Increased sleepiness,
    • A decrease in the ability to concentrate, and
    • Reduced accuracy

    Sleep in incredibly important not only for your mood and ability to concentrate, but also for your health and ability to tolerate environmental stressors.

    So, when can you turn off the tech?

    Habit #2: Easy & Breezy

    Did you know that the air inside our homes can be 5-10 times more polluted than outdoors?

    This is due to all sorts of reasons, from what we bring into our homes, to what our homes are made of, how we cook and what our pots and pans are made of…

    And that is just for starters.

    When we add pesticides, cleaning products and scented reeds into the mix, we are really cooking up a storm!

    Then we’re there.

    Breathing, eating, using the bathroom…

    Sweating (or “perspiring” 😉 for those who don’t sweat), cooking, sleeping…

    Everything we bring into our homes can affect the quality of the indoor air.

    If our home is nicely energy efficient, it is very likely that it is well-sealed, keeping the indoor air in, and the outdoor air out.

    This can lead to a build-up of volatile organic compounds, particulate matter, house dust mites, mould spores, combustion gases and more.

    To make matters worse, if you never exchange the air in your home…

    It never gets diluted.

    And –

    That is how the indoor air can be so much worse than the outdoor air.

    Where in your day can you open your windows and doors?


    Habit #3: Healing Naturally

    I always see nature as our baseline…

    The ideal to which we strive…

    The harmony and balance of nature is so supportive and healing.

    The Japanese embrace this through their practise of Shinrin Yoku – or “forest bathing.”

    The idea is that you wander out into nature, ideally under a canopy of trees, and sit or lay there for at least an hour.

    I see so many benefits of this…

    1. You get to breathe fresh natural air, instead of indoor air
    2. Being in nature in this way can allow you to discharge accumulated EMF – it is a form of grounding
    3. I suspect that the air you breathe is full of natural antimicrobials – let’s face it, trees survive in a forest because of their natural antimicrobials
    4. If you do this free from devices, it can be deeply relaxing, which can be incredibly healing
    5. It can help us to reconnect with nature – which traditionally we have always been well aware of

    I have seen research some years ago now, that found that the benefits of one-hour of forest bathing last for 7 days.

    So even if you live in the city, you should be able to carve out an hour a week to do this.

    Where can you create some time to be in nature?

    Habit #4: Be a Labels Sleuth

    Whilst there is a lot to learn about reading labels, there is a lot you can learn by doing this.

    If you took a moment to review the labels of products as you pick them off the shelf, you might be surprised at what you see.

    If I could encourage you to eliminate one ingredient…

    It would be fragrance (also listed as perfume or parfum).

    By cutting out fragrances, you could reduce your daily chemical exposure dramatically because…

    Fragrances require so many chemicals to make them!

    There are loads of other ingredients you can omit, too…

    But fragrances are the best place to start.

    Also, some products don’t necessarily have an ingredients list…

    So, this is where you can put your nose to use and have a sniff of it.

    Tip: toilet paper and sanitary products are often fragranced…

    Instead, you may choose to focus on an ingredient in food.

    Which ingredient are you going to target?

    eco-health-solutions natural

    Habit #5: Need or Want?

    When you are about to make a purchase, stop and think:

    Do I actually need it?

    If not, then consider why you want it.

    The goal here is not to accumulate too much “stuff.”

    Accumulating can lead to issues in terms of safety (trip-hazards), pests, dust (and house dust mites) and may even become a hygiene issue if cleaning becomes difficult.

    We created a rule many years ago that you might like to adapt or adopt…

    For every item that we buy, we need to pass on three to charity.

    When I do this, I tend to really get into it, and often can fill a large garbage bag with goodies that would benefit from a new home.

    It is surprisingly liberating to pass things on to charity…

    What can you put in place, so you remember to ask, “Do I really need it?” when making a purchase?

    5 New Habits

    There you go – there are five new habits to propel you towards a home or workplace that supports your health.

    Let me know how you go with them!


    Would You Like More Help? Book a Hidden Hazards Hotline Call here >>



    A. Green, M. Cohen-Zion, A. Haim & Y. Dagan (2017): Evening light exposure to computer screens disrupts human sleep, biological rhythms, and attention abilities, Chronobiology International, DOI: 10.1080/07420528.2017.1324878

    Time Indoors – Is it Affecting Your Health?

    Spending more time indoors, you may discover that your place is not supporting your health.

    Did you know that on average Australians generally spending 90+% of their time indoors?

    This can include home, work, in vehicles and places of worship.

    Whether it be a change in employment, circumstances or, due to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, all of a sudden, you might find yourself at home a lot more than previously.

    Like André.

    His contract finished, and instead of being on the road all the time for work, he was at home until he arranged new employment.

    All of a sudden, his voice got raspy, he felt sick, but not sick enough to spend the day in bed, his energy was low. He didn’t feel great, so found that he spent even more time indoors.

    Quickly, he realised that something was wrong.

    He got in touch with me, and we uncovered some hidden hazards, otherwise known as environmental stressors.

    Once these were addressed properly, he was 100% a-okay in his home.

    He was sweet, he called me every week to say, “I’m still okay!”

    That is exactly why I do what I do!

    Being able to help someone take back the reins of their life, to return to full health and be able to do whatever they choose… that is what is all about.

    All too often, when something goes wrong health-wise, people immediately think there is something wrong with them.

    Yet, like in André’s case, sometimes the problem is within the environment, not the person.

    You fix the environmental stressors, and the person returns to normal.

    In so many instances, when you clean up the environment the problem goes away.

    I believe that more people are affected by the environment than they realise.

    A good example of this is a headache. What do you do when you get a headache?

    Do you…

    • Reach for the painkillers like many people do?
    • Drink extra water and have some downtime?
    • Explore your environment for changes?

    My #1 go-to is always to explore any changes in the environment.

    I would rather fix the environment (cause) than take medication to temporarily ease the symptoms and never get to the bottom of it.

    We’re all different, I get it. No judgement here. ☺

    Have you noticed any changes since spending more time indoors ?

    Here’s a list to get you thinking – but do note, there are medical causes for some of these too – so do check in with your doctor or health practitioner for certainty.

    • Headaches
    • Poor sleep
    • Aching eyes
    • Muscle tension
    • Feeling off (malaise)
    • Ringing in your ears (tinnitus)
    • Grinding your teeth (bruxism)
    • Runny nose
    • Cough
    • Low energy
    • Foggy head
    • Poor concentration

    These can all have environmental causes.

    So, you might want to check things out.

    eco health solutions nature

    The best way to determine if your place is playing a role is…

    Notice how you feel when you are out of the building? 

    OPTION 1

    If you are in lockdown, you can’t stay somewhere else, but if you aren’t in lockdown, see how you feel when you are away from your place for a few days.

    OPTION 2

    Go for a walk, ideally in nature (the beach, a park, a reserve). Ideally spend a few hours enjoying the sunshine, fresh air and natural world.

    If you notice your symptoms ease off when you are away, it begins to point to an issue in your place.

    If you find that they ease off and then when you return, the symptoms do too, then it confirms that there is an environmental stressor there that is affecting you.

    Simple Steps to Ease the Symptoms when you are Spending Time Indoors

    Here are some simple steps that you can use to ease the symptoms. Do be aware that these are temporary measures and until the cause is addressed, the issue remains.

    1. Ventilate. 
    If there is a build-up of indoor air contaminants, open your doors and windows to exchange the air and dilute the levels of contaminants.

    2. Spend time in nature. 
    Shinrin Yoku is the Japanese practise of “forest bathing” and it is seen to be highly beneficial for health (including mental health).

    60 minutes of time in nature, especially under a canopy of trees can result in 7 days of benefits. Make some time, at least, every week to get out in nature.

    3. Turn off your devices, wi-fi and smartphones – at least while you sleep. 
    Sleep is the most important time of the day it is when our body heals. So, give it the best chance to do this, and turn everything off.

    I call this “digital downtime” and you can do it more often than just overnight. 😉


    Air Quality – Understanding the Information

    With the bushfires that destroyed so much of Australia in the summer of 2020, air quality became a bit of an obsession – and rightly so with all the smoke that our fires have produced spreading globally.

    There are apps and websites and indexes…

    There is PM2.5, PM10, TVOC, CO, AQI and on it goes.

    But do you understand what it is all about?

    For some, just getting the colour indication that it is unhealthy, hazardous or not is enough.

    For others, it is important to wrap your head around this. I have put this together for you. 🙂

    Air Quality: Making Sense of the Abbreviations

    PM2.5 and PM10

    These refer to particulate matter of different sizes. “Particulate matter” is particles in the air.

    The numbers, eg 2.5 and 10, refer to the size of the particles; so 2.5 microns or 10 microns.

    This is important because there are different health implications based on the sizes.

    The larger particles are “inhalable” – as in, you can breathe them in, and they are likely to get stuck in your upper respiratory tract. This is certainly the case for PM10.

    The smaller particles, eg PM2.5 are “respirable.” This means that they can get into the lungs.

    The US EPA have put together a brochure on “Particle Pollution and Your Health” which you can download here. In this they


    This stands for Total Volatile Organic Compounds.

    Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) come from a variety of sources and can be assessed individually. However, for this topic, they are lumped together to get an overall total.

    VOCs can best be understood by way of the supermarket cleaning aisle. You know when you are approaching the cleaning section because of the smell… that is the off-gassing of the VOCs from those products.

    Ozone, CO (Carbon Monoxide), Sulphur Dioxide

    These are all gases which can be problematic to health.


    This is the Air Quality Index which takes into consideration a number of air quality issues and rates the air.

    It is an index that is used throughout the US to predict/forecast as well as record air pollutants – ozone, PM, CO, nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide.

    The scale has been developed based on health effects of having breathed in the air for a few hours.

    Therefore, in a nutshell, if you are a sensitive person, or someone with lung or heart issues, elderly or pregnant, levels over 100 may be an issue, and you need to protect yourself.

    If none of those apply, levels over 200 are considered unhealthy, and the hazardous.

    Image source: US EPA

    Another resource that the US EPA have put together is this article, How Smoke from Fires Can Affect Your Health.

    Want to Know More about Air Quality?

    The US EPA have a brochure on the AQI which you can download here.

    While all of this is important to know and understand, please note that the apps and sites mentioned initially are measuring and assessing ambient air (outdoor air), and not indoor air. There are many instances where indoor air can be more polluted than outdoor air. This can be due to many internal sources, such as new furnishings, paint, floor finishes, and so on.

    It is my professional opinion that many buildings should have air purifiers.

    My personal preference is that I would rather a machine with a filter captures all of these pollutants, and not my nose and lungs.

    Want to understand more about what you can do to create a healthy home or workplace?

    #airquality #smoke #health #airpurifier #airqualityindex #PM2.5 #PM10 #particulatematter

    Is My House Making Me Sick? Pt2

    Is My House Making Me Sick?

    PART 2

    >> Is My House Making Me Sick? Part 1 is here <<

    3. Sleep… in peace!

    There is a lot of emerging research that shows device use interferes with our sleep, and that blue light can damage our eyes.

    The mental stimulation when Googling things, interacting on social media, and even video calls can make it hard to sleep.

    Our tablets, smart phones and smart watches contain LED lights.

    The evening use of such devices which has been associated with:

    • Poor quality sleep,
    • Reduced concentration the next day,
    • Poor mood, and
    • Reduced accuracy…

    … According to recent research.

    As well, there is a reduction in melatonin – a hormone that has antioxidant actions.

    Antioxidants play an important role in detoxification and keeping us healthy.

    When we began this conversation, I shared with you about the importance of sleep in the healing. Anything that interrupts sleep, for whatever reason, needs to be reduced.

    Did You Know?

    Did you know that apps used to measure sleep have uncovered an insomnia epidemic?

    BUT did you also know that the wireless technology required for these apps to function has been linked to sleep disturbances?

    “What Can I Do?”

    At the very least, don’t sleep with your phone!

    4. Smell… naturally lovely!

    I want to tackle the topic of “fragrances” here. Fragrances are in everything from perfumes, air fresheners and deodorisers. They are in our laundry products, sanitary protection, and even in our cosmetics. Nappies, doggy-do bags, and toilet paper also are scented… and that is just the tip of the iceberg!

    If you ever see this word on a label, it means “a cocktail of many ingredients.” Fragrance, parfum and perfume all mean the same thing, when reading labels.

    The ingredients used in perfumery are primarily chemicals, most of which haven’t been tested for safe use by humans, some that have been tested really aren’t good for us (causing cancer, irritating our skin and lungs, messing with our hormones…).

    Our exposure to fragrances is enormous and our bodies need to deal with this. For some people, this constant exposure is physically exhausting.

    Did You Know?

    Did you know essential oils are a better option that synthetic fragrances? But please bear on mind that they are very potent – so use sparingly and avoid using them 24/7. For people who are environmentally sensitive, even these can be problematic. Please use them with care (and NEVER eat/drink them).

    “What Can I Do?”

    Don’t buy anything that contains fragrance, parfum or perfume.

    5. Stay… mould-free!

    Have you noticed there has been a lot of media stories about mould and how it is making people sick? It has definitely attracted a lot of attention, and was the subject of a 2018 Parliamentary Inquiry, instigated by Senator Lucy Wicks. Mould comes in many different colours, and it doesn’t have to be black to cause health problems.

    Mould spores are everywhere and play an important role on our planet. Only 25% of the spores can grow, the other 75% are “dead” (that said, it doesn’t make them less problematic for someone who is sensitive).

    However, we don’t want mould growing in our homes.

    When you think about it, all mould is waiting for is the right conditions to grow. This centres on the right amount of moisture. Moisture can come from leaks, burst pipes, spills, condensation and many other places.

    Did You Know?

    Did you know that flexible braided hoses (the bendy pipes on your taps and toilets) account for over 20% of water damage claims in Australian homes? They only last for around 5-7 years and erode faster in the presence of chemicals. (What is under your sink?)

    “What Can I Do?”

    Deal with water quickly – mop up spills, fix leaks, dry out anything that has become wet within 24-hours.

    I trust this has given you a lot to go on with…

    If you have any concerns, or want to get in touch, please book a call.

    Handy Essential Oils

    Handy Essential Oils to Use Around the Home

    I wanted to share with you some handy essential oils that you can use with ease. 

    essential oils pests

    I don’t like conventional pesticides they are neurotoxins, many of which were developed for use in warfare!

    Instead, I like to think about “pests” as a critter in the wrong place. Thus my approach is aversion. I would rather they chose not to be there, than be killed.

    What works for cockroaches?

    Cockroaches absolutely dislike pennyroyal essential oil.

    I am not sure why, I love its minty aroma.

    All you need to do to keep them out of cupboards is to put a few drops on a cotton ball and place this in your cupboard.

    essential oils smells

    Essential Oils and Smells

    Smells around the home can be unpleasant – but less so than “air fresheners” that add to the particulate matter in the air, and coat everything with a synthetic fragrance.

    Whilst my favourite strategies are to:

    1. Remove the source of the odour, and
    2. Open doors and windows and exchange the air.

    But sometimes there is a need to help “manage” the smells.


    In this instance, I am referring to the bathroom/powder room/toilet. You know what I am getting at… 😉

    And for Bathroom Smells?

    An essential oil that works wonders for this is tea tree essential oil.

    You can make up a small spray bottle with water and a few drops of tea tree and use this as needed.

    Obviously, opening doors and windows is always a good option. 🙂

    essential oils and sleep

    Essential Oils and Sleep

    Many people recommend lavender essential oil to assist with sleep.

    I don’t.


    I have heard from many people over the decades which I have used essential oils find that lavender “hypes them up.”


    To help get a good nights’ sleep, a good routine is important.

    Here’s what I suggest:

    • No later than 7pm each evening, turn off wi-fi and all devices (including phones and tablets)
    • After your evening meal, go for a short stroll. In Chinese medicine, it is often recommended to walk 100 steps after dinner
    • Avoid phone calls and conversations
    • If you have a lot on your mind, “dump” it onto paper to clear it from your mind
    • Journal or make your days’ gratitude list
    • Meditate or pray

    What to Use for Sleep?

    I think we need to keep our bedrooms as free from anything that the body needs to deal with – and for many of us, we have already had enormous toxicant-exposures through the day.

    For this reason, I think it best not to use essential oils.

    However, if you are keen to do so, I recommend sweet marjoram and sweet orange.

    Chamomile may also be helpful.

    Let me know your thoughts.

    #essentialoils #handyessentialoils #naturalpesticide #smells #sleep