In this post, we’ll be exploring how condensation causes mould.
Condensation is a common phenomenon that occurs when moist air comes into contact with a cold surface, leading to the formation of water droplets.
While condensation can affect various surfaces, metal roofs, particularly those with a low angle, present unique challenges. In this blog post, we will explore the impact of condensation on metal roofs, focusing on its potential to cause mould growth and its implications for health.
By understanding this relationship, homeowners and builders can take proactive measures to mitigate the risks associated with condensation.
The Nature of Metal Roofs
Metal roofs have gained popularity due to their durability, longevity, and aesthetic appeal – they’re also relatively low cost, and are quicker and easier to install than more traditional roofing materials, such as tiles.
However, they also possess certain characteristics that make them susceptible to condensation-related issues – namely that metal is a good thermal conductor – meaning it can cool and heat up relatively quickly. What happens then, is that metal roofs are often close to the outdoor temperature and thus can be very different to the temperature within a roof space or attic.
Metal roofs are typically installed with an angle of less than 22 degrees, which poses challenges when it comes to managing water runoff (Australian Building Codes Board, 2021), we’ll come back to this.
Condensation Drips and the Risk of Mould Growth
In traditional roofing systems with steeper angles, rainwater efficiently runs off the surface, minimising the chances of water accumulation and subsequent condensation-related problems.
However, when the angle of a metal roof is less than 22 degrees, condensation cannot run off it, which results in it dripping.
As I always say, mould is a moisture issue.
Mould spores are everywhere and are waiting for the right level of moisture to become active. Metal roofs with condensation issues can provide an ideal environment for mould.
The growth of mould on a roof's underside not only compromises its structural integrity but also poses serious health risks to occupants (National Construction Code, 2021).
I want to illustrate this for you with some photos I took of the underside of a metal roof that covered a deck.
These photos were taken mid morning after a cold night. You can see the condensation lined up along the valleys of the metal roof (left). As well, you can see the moisture on the table beneath (right).
Health Implications of Mould Growth
Mould growth can have significant implications for human health. Exposure to mould spores, particularly indoors, can cause a range of health problems, including allergies, respiratory issues, and even infections. Individuals with existing respiratory conditions, such as asthma, are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of mould exposure (Wang et al, 2023; ABCB, 2019).
There is a growing body of research that highlights the detrimental effects of mould on respiratory health, emphasising the importance of preventing mould growth in buildings to safeguard occupants' wellbeing.
Mould, including the strains commonly found in damp and poorly ventilated areas, thrives in the presence of moisture. Metal roofs are condensation risks, and without enough slope, this can drip onto insulation or the plasterboards of the ceiling, and result in “hidden mould”, and thus can be playing a role in health issues, even when there is no visible mould.
Understanding the Causes of Condensation
To effectively address condensation-related issues on metal roofs, it is crucial to understand the underlying causes.
While the slope of the roof is an incredibly important factor, there are other important considerations. These are high humidity levels within the building, inadequate ventilation, and temperature differentials between the interior and exterior environments. Identifying these causes allows homeowners and builders to implement appropriate measures to control condensation and mitigate its impact (ABCB, 2019).
Mitigating Condensation Issues on Metal Roofs
To combat condensation problems and prevent mould growth on metal roofs, several strategies can be employed:
Adequate ventilation is essential to expel excess moisture and maintain a balanced humidity level. Proper airflow helps in reducing the likelihood of condensation formation (Australian Building Codes Board, 2021; New Zealand Building Performance, n.d.). Some simple steps include venting extractor fans to the exterior of the building (not into the roof space), installing whirlybirds, depending on the climate, opening the roof space up to allow air circulation (e.g. having metal mesh soffits).
Insulating the Roof
Insulation acts as a thermal barrier, minimising temperature differentials between the interior and exterior surfaces of the roof. This helps reduce the occurrence of condensation by preventing warm, moist air from coming into contact with the cold metal surface (Australian Building Codes Board, 2021; New Zealand Building Performance, n.d.). Care also needs to be taken to ensure that the insulation does not block the condensation runoff, and also that it isn’t directly beneath the metal roof.
Installing Vapour Barriers
Vapour barriers are effective in preventing moisture from permeating into the roof structure. By creating a barrier, they minimise the chances of condensation formation (Australian Building Codes Board, 2021; New Zealand Building Performance, n.d.). What they do is allow water vapour to escape from within the building envelope.
Compliance with Building Codes and Standards
To ensure the safety and quality of construction, it is crucial to adhere to relevant building codes and standards. In the case of metal roofs and condensation management, the Australian Building Codes Board and National Construction Code provide guidelines and regulations to mitigate the risks associated with condensation and mould growth (Australian Building Codes Board, 2021; National Construction Code, 2021).
In New Zealand, where “leaky buildings” have been a significant issue, the New Zealand Building Performance provides valuable resources and information on weathertightness and managing condensation to address these concerns (New Zealand Building Performance, n.d.).
While Condensation Causes Mould it Can Be Mitigated
Condensation on metal roofs, especially those with angles less than 22 degrees, can lead to the formation of condensation drips, increasing the risk of mould growth. This can have detrimental effects on both the structural integrity of the roof and the health of the occupants. Mould exposure can result in allergies, respiratory issues, and infections, particularly for individuals with pre-existing respiratory conditions.
Understanding the causes of condensation, such as high humidity levels and inadequate ventilation, is crucial in developing effective strategies for mitigating condensation-related problems. Improving ventilation, insulating the roof, and installing vapour barriers are practical measures to control condensation and prevent mould growth.
Compliance with building codes and standards ensures that construction practices align with recommended guidelines for condensation management. By implementing these strategies and following regulatory requirements, homeowners and builders can create healthier living environments and prolong the lifespan of metal roofs.
Taking proactive steps to address condensation issues on metal roofs is essential for safeguarding the integrity of the structure and the well-being of those who reside within. By prioritising proper ventilation, insulation, and moisture control, homeowners and builders can minimise the risks associated with condensation and create a safer, mould-free living environment.
Wang, J. et al (2023). Effects of mold, water damage and window pane condensation on adult rhinitis and asthma partly mediated by different odors. Building and Environment, 2023. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.buildenv.2022.109814
Consider natural deodorants – some of my clients have used bicarbonate of soda, other swear by cider vinegar, personally, I prefer to mix up essential oils in a bottle of rose water and spray that on every few hours (essential oils evaporate quickly)
Reduced Indoor Air Quality
Closing the windows to keep the heat out and the cool in can cause indoor air pollutants to build up, which is never ideal.
This is made worse when bringing new items into the home – which are often still off-gassing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and potentially also formaldehyde.
Adding another layer to this is the increased temperatures speeding up the release of VOCs, which can readily form by-products in the air.
The great thing about this problem is that the solutions are simple!
Ventilate your home. Open doors and windows at least 3 times a day (the ideal would be every hour) to exchange the air in your home.
When you’ve got the windows closed, ensure your airpurifier is going.
Avoid using “air fresheners” and other scented products.
Moisture in the Interstitial Spaces
Condensation forms where there are variations in temperatures. What we see with the use of air conditioning, is condensation forming on the other side of plasterboards, outside of windows and also on the other side of the ceiling.
These areas are referred to as “interstitial spaces” and can be the site of many cases of “hidden mould.”
In 2018, I was in far north Queensland to present training on mould and was amazed to see the windows literally streaming with condensation – to the point that it looked like it was raining heavily.
This is a complex problem, but ultimately it rests heavily on the use of air conditioning – as this is what causes massive temperature variations.
Explore alternative ways to cool – installing plants along the paths and in front of your windows to naturally cool the air, hanging a wet sheet across the open window or door, wetting your hair, clothes or skin.
Aim to keep the inside temperature closer to the outside temperature – don’t set the cooling for 15oC, instead, set it for 25-30oC.
If you can, keep the windows open a little to help even out the temperature a bit.
Higher levels of relative humidity in tropical and subtropical regions is the number one problem here.
It’s important to remember that there are mould spores everywhere, waiting for the right conditions.
Often all they are waiting for is enough moisture.
And high levels of relative humidity can provide this.
(This is why “mould is a moisture issue” – as I’m sure you’ve heard me say time and again).
Keep an eye on the levels of relative humidity with a hygrometer, remembering the ideal range is 40-60% RH, with 50% RH being the magic number.
If the relative humidity levels go above this, use a dehumidifier to bring them down to below 60% RH.
Pull furniture from against the walls, so that air can circulate around it, as well as giving you the opportunity to check the walls for mould.
The combination of higher temperatures and higher levels of rainfall (as we’ve been seeing in Australia) results in more active breeding of mosquitoes, termites, cockroaches and rodents.
Each of them bring their own risks to either human health and/or the health of our homes.
While we consider them pests, we need to be considered in how we deal with them.
My preference is always to deter them, rather than kill them.
If you prefer to kill them, then take great care with poisons – especially rodenticides (poison for rodents – rats and mice). Poison can be slow acting, and other animals further up the food chain can also be killed as a result. I’ll be putting a post together on this soon. In the meantime please read more here – as they also include a post about safer poisons.
Install fly screens over doors and windows; and repair any old ones that are damaged.
Flooding is something we’ve recently experienced on a scale that really hasn’t been seen before.
I’m not a scientist or meteorologist, but experts say this is due to either or both La Niña and climate change.
Flooding – the Primary Effects
Primarily, flooding is going to result in mould issues. Mould is a moisture issue and with the abundance of moisture (rain, on the ground and the high levels of relative humidity), we’re seeing a perfect storm brewing for mould and microbial activity.
The focus of today’s post is the secondary effects.
So, I’ll leave the topic of mould here, with the following pointers:
Anything that’s been wet for more than 48 hours can create the opportunity for mould and microbial activity
Porous materials that have been wet, need to be replaced
Semi- and non-porous materials can be saved, but need to be addressed by the appropriate professionals (those who’ve trained with IICRC and have achieved the Mould Remediation accreditation)
If you want to learn more about dealing with mould, I have a course by that very name – you can check it out here.
www.EWG.org will also list options, however, I’ve found that these are often not available in Australia (and I don't recommend purchasing these types of items online from overseas as they may not meet our safety standards)
I’m going to bring back my essential oil based Bug Repellent (contact me if you're interested)
If you opt for a non-natural option, apply an oil-based moisturiser on your skin first, so the repellent sits on the surface of your skin (and is also easier to wash of)
Another way to use the non-natural option is to spray it onto clothing, instead of your skin
DIY – make your own with essential oils, such as tea tree, rosemary, eucalyptus blue mallee, and lavender. You can mix them up in water and spray them on your clothes/skin and reapply every 2-3 hours
We can expect some pretty big issues with termites with the high levels of moisture.
According to Professor Dieter Hochuli, Integrative Ecology Group at the University of Sydney,
“It’s going to be a massive year for termites as the high levels of soil moisture are ideal for them to burrow and flourish” (ABC News, 31 Oct 22).
A bit like house dust mites, termites thrive in moist conditions.
Termites are attracted by the moisture then go in search of food – wood.
Here are some things to do.
Clear away wood (fallen branches, sleepers, wood piles) from around your home and property
Keep things as dry as you can
Be vigilant – keep an eye on your building, including the subfloor. If you’ve got termite caps at the top of your stumps, then you should be able to spot their activity easily.
Have your home inspected
Termite traps can be useful around your property, too
Cockroaches and Rodents
Cockroaches and rodents (rats and mice), as well as other pests are likely to increase, particularly as the weather warms up.
Some actions that you can take are:
Installing fly screens on windows and doors
Keep your home clean
Clean up food scraps and mess
Ensure your bins close properly
If you’ve got a compost bin, keep it away from the home
If you’ve got chooks, look into getting a feeder that doesn’t spill their food around
Keep pet food (and your own) in sealed containers
Other Steps You Can Take To Reduce the Secondary (and Tertiary) Effects of Flooding
Keep an eye on the relative humidity levels – these should be between 40-60%. A hygrometer is handy for this.
Mould sensitivities are more common than most people realise.
If you're a regular here at Eco Health Solutions, it is highly likely that you have mould sensitivities or other environmental sensitivities, know someone who does, or know enough about them to want to prevent them… If you're new, then feel free to peruse this and other posts on environmental sensitivities.
I wanted to bring you a different, and more technical, perspective on mould and health – so invited my friend Tim Law, an architectural scientist with a strong interest in this topic to share his insights with you.
Grab a cuppa and pen and paper and settle in for this great read.
I am an architectural scientist, one who uses the principles of physics, biology and chemistry to understand buildings.
On the positive side I try to make buildings perform optimally, and on the flip side I explain why they fail.
If you are reading Lucinda's website, you are most likely aware that conventional medicine has a very limited understanding around the health implications of mould in water-damaged buildings.
This article is written to help you understand that even though your physician may not be familiar with mould sensitivities you should not feel alone. There are many others like you.
Fungi, the fifth kingdom. Ubiquitous, prolific, little understood. They are the great recyclers, decomposing trees, recovering its nutrients, nourishing the soil. They are selectively symbiotic, and at times territorial.
But once they sporulate in water-damaged buildings, they become unequivocally unhealthy to humans.
You are not alone in your home.
There is an entire ecosystem of microorganisms waging biological warfare. Quite different from human warfare, there is no morality in this war, no good vs evil, no heroes or villains, it is simply what fungi do.
It turns out that mould does not live a solitary existence. They form colonies. The word ‘colony’ has been well chosen.
Mould can team up with other organisms such as bacteria to form biofilms — a kind of fortified city wall to protect the organisms within its confines.
More significantly, mould colonises. It is opportunistic, dormant until the conditions are right, then invades and proliferates. Like any colonist, mould does not like to share. It is hypothesised that mould sends out mycotoxins (mould toxins) to eliminate its competition.
The strategies largely fall in two methods: arrive early and multiply quickly, or arrive late and carry some big guns.
Microbiologists divide the continuum as primary, secondary and tertiary colonisers.
They also follow the same neat order of water activity (or wetness of a porous material): primary colonisers germinate when the material is moderately damp for a few days, and tertiary colonisers when it is very damp for a long period of months.
The Might of Mould
Human ingenuity has turned these mould metabolites into medicines — a vast range of fungal antibiotics are derived from mould.
Humans also figured that we could isolate and weaponise mycotoxins. In the stuff of nightmares, trichothecenes can be derived from the common tertiary coloniser found in water-damaged buildings, Stachybotrys chartarum, that gram for gram, exceeds mustard gas in toxicity.
Stachybotrys chartarum has received superstar status in the media and is commonly referred to as “toxic black mould”. This turns out to be a rather unhelpful description since mould has different colours depending on the substrate it feeds on, and changes colours across its life cycle, just like trees do across seasons.
Yet not all moulds are hazardous. Some moulds are brilliantly delicious. Koji (Aspergillus oryzae) creates umami-charged cuisine.
Impressively, one could marinate raw meat with shio-koji and let the process continue for days unrefrigerated without bacterial overgrowth, according to Jeremy Umansky, author of Koji Alchemy.
One wonders if this can be applied to buildings. And indeed this idea is not far-fetched. Japanese Koji houses are dedicated fermenteries — no other ferments are permitted in the facility so as to minimise cross contamination.
Before fermenting is commenced, the Koji master goes through the ritual of scattering Koji spores all around the timber building structure to essentially stave off any other moulds from colonising.
Mould in Buildings
We should attend to our buildings with a similar care, seeing how most of Australian domestic construction is dominated by cellulose material.
From timber frames to engineered timber products like LVLs (laminated veneer lumbers) and plywood, to particle board flooring, MDF (medium density fibre) boards, to paper-faced plasterboard wall and ceiling linings — virtually everything we build with in a typical Australian house is mould food, you just have to add water.
It should be pointed out that mould is not the only problem with dampness.
Water supports life of a host of micro-organisms besides mould, it is just mould that is the most visible due to its mycelial structure.
To keep mould and other microorganisms away from houses, it is as simple as keeping moisture out.
Simple, but not easy.
If it were easy moisture-related defects would not be repeatedly the highest reported source of problems for apartments by the NSW Office of the Building Commissioner occurring in 53% of reviewed apartment buildings.
In Victoria, surveys conducted by the Australian Apartment Advocacy show water-related defects as a group of defects are well ahead of any other classification.
Regardless of state/territory and climate zone, there was a fairly consistent average that a third of these new buildings were estimated to have condensation problems.
If we add to this the water-related defects such as failures in plumbing, roofing, cladding, water-proofing and damp-proofing, then a building free from water damage is in the minority.
Condensation provisions were only introduced into the National Construction Code in 2019, meaning to say that houses and apartments built prior to this could be deemed to be code-compliant, and yet have unmitigated condensation, together with the mould and bacteria that invariably follows prolonged dampness of building materials.
When the micro-organisms proliferate, not only do they produce toxins to gain a competitive advantage, even their cell walls become a source of toxins.
These toxins are collectively referred to as biotoxins and create a range of maladies, broadly categorised as allergenic, pathogenic, toxicological and inflammatory.
In essence, it can be very broad, systemic, affecting multiple organs and expressed through multiple symptoms.
Early symptoms often include brain fog and chronic fatigue.
On prolonged exposure to water-damaged buildings, mould-sensitive patients eventually also develop chemical, light and electromagnetic hypersensitivities.
New Research into Mould Sensitivities and Biotoxin Illnesses
On top of that, in an Australian first, the NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Council) is funding research into biotoxin illness. I am one of the investigators and am optimistic that recent advancements in data mining, next-generation sequencing, transcriptomics and metagenomics will enable us to tackle this complex problem which has hitherto been too complex to analyse.
There is almost a poetic irony that interconnected disciplines are required to unravel the interconnected symptoms of a patient suffering from interconnecting micro-organisms.
Thus, if you find yourself in a water-damaged building, remember you are not alone. There are many Australians in a similar predicament that you will be able to connect with.
Keep seeking for answers and keep applying pressure on the government (local, state and federal) to improve the quality of buildings we live, work and school in.
Keep connecting with like-minded people and build your support network.
Applying a little foresight and forward planning can help to prevent renovation health hazards. Through the past decade, I have found that many of my clients have experienced health issues due to factors in their homes, I call these hidden hazards.
In order to equip you with information and strategies while renovating your home, I am going to share with you 5 of the common hazards… and give you strategies on how you can tackle them safely and effectively.
I'd say mould is a “complex beast.” Here are some key points in a nutshell:
Ultimately, mould is a moisture issue. If there’s mould, there has been moisture. Conversely, if something is wet for long enough (48 hours) you can have mould.
There are over 100,000 different types of mould, it comes in many colours and has many different moisture requirements.
It’s a myth that mould only grows in cold, dark places. Mould spores are present everywhere and can become active when there is enough moisture present.
Mould can be actively growing, yet be invisible and/or have no odour.
It’s also a myth that only mould that is black can cause problems to health.
Not everyone reacts the same way to mould. People can be allergic to it, or become sensitised over time. Others may have an immune system that can deal with it without them even realising it!
Mould can grow in all sorts of places – even in areas that you can’t see.
The biggest factor when it comes to renovation health risks is that any time you disturb mould, it releases spores. This means any changes to moisture levels, light, temperature, air movement, as well as physically disturbing it, can result in mould releasing spores.
Keep your eyes peeled for any signs of water, mould or damage: wood with “wood rot” (a.k.a. “water damage”), a “high tide mark” in the subfloor and on the stumps, brown stains (typically on ceilings and walls), paintwork that is peeling, cracked or bubbling, and swollen wood (door jambs, cabinetry, kickboards).
If you spot any of these, get in touch so I can advise on how to best manage the situation.
Asbestos is a material that most of us have heard of. I am sure you also know of the health risks, like mesothelioma that can result from asbestos exposure.
However, it is important to know that asbestos does not pose any health risk if it isn’t damaged or disturbed. Which means, you can live in a 1950s home and have no asbestos-related issues if you don’t make holes in the walls or renovate. This is great news – except if you do want to renovate.
Here are some facts about asbestos.
It’s strong, heat resistant and durable
It was used in a vast range of materials for many decades,
The peak usage of asbestos was 1950s-1970s,
Asbestos was banned in 2003, and
It is impossible to know if a material contains asbestos simply by looking at it.
Apart from “Hardie Boards”, cement-lined asbestos pipes and roof tiles, asbestos was used in electrical cable casing (this is the braided one), window sashes on hung windows, slagging, old laundry tubs, carpet underlays, tiles, bakelite materials and so many other materials.
If your home was built before 2003 and you are planning on a renovation, engage a licensed asbestos inspector to conduct a “demolition survey.”
Lead has also been widely used in a number of products, and was only phased out from use in paint as recently as 2010. Whilst leaded paint, like asbestos, when it isn’t disturbed poses little risk – if it is sanded or peeling, it can be particularly hazardous to health.
There are often no symptoms of lead poisoning for some years – and common long term effects of lead poisoning include loss of libido, reduced sperm count, lowered IQ, Alzheimer's Disease, hearing loss, joint pain, stroke, and has been linked to many “diseases of ageing.”
Lead can be present in our homes in paint, solder, flashing (which can get into tank water), lead dust (from busy roads and industry) which can get into the soil or roof space, and even lead lighting.
What is important to know with lead is that the “spot tests” that you can get at hardware stores are extremely unreliable. It is for this reason that they are not something that I recommend. Instead, you can get samples analysed by an accredited laboratory.
If you suspect lead might be present then take extra care:
wear a respirator,
gloves and coveralls,
avoid dry sanding,
avoid removing paint with heat guns,
manage the dust to prevent secondary contamination, and of course,
keep pets, pregnant women, young children and the elderly away from areas being renovated.
Two places where dust pose the biggest risks are carpets and the roof space.
Any time you are doing anything involving the ceiling or roof space be sure to have the dust removed prior. This could be installing insulation to cutting out a piece to installing downlights, and so on.
For carpets, I recommend that you spray them down with water, cut them into strips, roll each strip, wrap in a tarp and take it out to the skip. This will prevent dust becoming airborne as well as reduce the risk of spreading it through other parts of your home.
And of course, personal protective equipment is always recommended!
Plan Ahead and Avoid Renovation Health Hazards
Whilst we know how easy it is to get swept up in the vision and planning… However, you are now armed with important information to protect yourself and your family from the most common renovation health hazards.
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.
Sore and/or dry eyes
Heightened levels of stress or agitation
Sore and/or tight muscles
Feeling not quite right (aka malaise)
Foggy or muddled head
Vertigo or losing balance (only when at home)
Grinding or clenching teeth (aka bruxism)
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…
Say what? Environmental stressors can cause blindness????
Let me illustrate this with a story about Billie.
Billie (not her real name) is a young Mum who is super keen to ensure her bubba is safe. She’d heard about 5G and noticed some of the attention it was getting. So she asked Dr Google, she joined FB groups, she sought out information from everywhere.
Out came Protective Mamma Bear.
5G became an obsession. It consumed every available moment between changing nappies, feeding, washing, playing with bubba and sleep…. Well, to be honest, it even started to creep in there too – as she dreamed about #5G.
Billie was so obsessed with 5G that she thought nothing of using her tablet while bubba slept, while it connected to the wi-fi.
The humidifier in bubba’s room that was causing mould to grow on the ceiling didn’t even enter her mind.
The perfume she spritzed on her body and clothes didn’t get a mention.
She was so caught up in the one issue, that she saw nothing else.
Not surprisingly, she was blinded by her obsession with one environmental stressor.
Billie is not alone. Environmental Stressors are Hugely Important
Billie’s story is not unique. I see this time and time again – be it around #SmartMeters, #fragrances, #lead, #mould… any #EnvironmentalStressor.
Whilst it is valid to be informed and proactive, there are quite a lot of issues with this kind of blinkered focus on one thing.
In a nutshell, the issues are:
🤷🏽♂️ There is a lot of mis-information, hype and well-marketed nonsense. As a result, you can end up spending a lot of time and money on unnecessary things
🔎 With all the mis-information, you might end up doing something that could make things worse
🔍 Usually, when my team and I assess homes of people like Billie, we find all sorts of other problems that are much larger issues than the one they are stressing about… the blinkers need to come off to be able to address the bigger picture
And yet, there is much more to this…
It is one small word that has massive ramifications.
🔎 It is #stress 🔎
Stress can cause a whole gamut of problems. It can:
😡 Reduce your ability to #detoxify
😞 Negatively impact your #sleep (and as a result, your mood)
😕 Cause a release of all sorts of chemicals in the body that ultimately reduce your #resilience
AND, this next one is the worst of all, in my opinion.
😔 Stress can cause you to freeze up, become #overwhelmed and take NO action
I believe strongly in taking #empowered action.
There is always something you can do to make a difference.
Even if it feels small, it is enormous!
So, I urge you to keep perspective, to open your heart to the wonderful things in life, and draw inspiration to take empowered action.
One of my favourite recommendations is to put flowering plants in your garden (or balcony). This will help the birds, bees, insects and your loved ones.
Take a moment to imagine how the world would benefit if every single person did this?