Frequently Asked Questions on Building Biology
What is building biology?
Building Biology is a health science that looks at the relationship between humans and the buildings that they inhabit as well as the relationship between buildings and the natural environment. Building Biology helps to identify hazards in the indoor built environment and educate people about the potential health effects as well as the devastating effects on the planet as a whole.
Building Biology operates on 25 principles developed by Anton Schneider from Germany in the 1970’s. Air quality, water quality, soil pollution, electromagnetic radiation, toxic chemicals in cleaning products, building materials as well as
building design are all considered by a Building Biologist. The building in which you live or work represents your third skin and as such it should be able to breathe and support your well being.
How can buildings affect a person’s well being?
If the building is too hot or too cold, too humid or too dry then your well being can be affected. Many glues and resins in furniture, curtains, kitchen cabinets, paint, varnishes and plastics off-gas what is called volatile organic compounds that are linked to numerous health effects.
Mould, due to water leaks and spills or just high humidity and a lack of ventilation, can cause serious respiratory problems and has even caused death in infants. Unflued gas heaters and stove tops can cause toxic gas exposure (carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide). A lack of ventilation can cause stale polluted air to circulate in the home and not allow a fresh exchange of air from the outside.
Electric blankets, mobile phones, dishwashers, meter boxes on the bed head side of a wall can all cause long term exposure to electromagnetic fields.
The long ingredients list of synthetic chemicals in toothpaste, shampoo, soap, cream, deodorant, hairspray, packaged food etc all adds to the toxic load that our bodies deal with on a daily basis. Some people have strong constitutions and are able to cope with almost anything, while others cannot cope with the smell of a new telephone directory. Toxicity builds up in the body and signs are sent by the body via headaches, skin rashes, sleeplessness, sore eyes, runny nose, sore throat, stomach aches etc. If these are left unchecked or misdiagnosed and the environmental source of the affliction is not removed, then these ailments can progress into more serious problems like liver damage, kidney damage and cancer.
The light, colours, noise level and general layout of a workspace can cause both emotional and physical ailments.
Building Biologists even consider ergonomics in their assessments. For example a short Italian man complained of shoulder pain and sought help from massage therapists for years before a Building Biologist realised that he was making coffee all day and the coffee machine was too high. He had his arms and shoulders raised up in an awkward position all day. A simple platform brought him up a level and the shoulder pains never came back.
Corroded water pipes can cause copper poisoning (in the case of copper water pipes), cadmium poisoning (in the case of corroded galvanised pipes), Fluorosis in the case of excess fluoride added to the water (which is added in almost all water in Victoria) and excess chlorine treatment can lead to the destruction of beneficial bacteria, bladder cancer and aggravated asthma. Plasticizers and lead stabilisers also cause many ailments in the case of new plastic water pipes (particularly PVC) . For example a lady developed bad stomach aches after moving into a new residence. After visiting practitioners and trying many unsuccessful treatments a Building Biologist was consulted. The Building Biologist examined the water and suspected copper poisoning. A hair mineral analysis was done and the copper readings were off the chart. The stomach aches subsided after a copper detox program was completed and a water filter was installed.
Allergens like bed bugs, mites, and pet hair can also cause many problems. The average vacuum cleaner simply takes a majority of the dust and allergens from the ground level and sprays it up into the breathing zone as most vacuums spray 80% of what they collect back into the air. This is due to the fact that such a large percentage of particles are so small that they are not contained in the bag or filters fitted in the vacuum cleaner. So mothers vacuuming there baby’s room every other day in an attempt to keep it spotless could potentialy be doing more harm than good.
What is “Sick building syndrome”?
Sick building syndrome simply refers to the situation in which something within the building structure is making the occupants sick.The occupants only get sick when they are in the building and the symptoms abate when the occupants leave the building.
What is electrobiology?
Electrobiology refers to the affect that electrical and electromagnetic fields / radiation have on people. Electrobiology involves detecting areas of high radiation and eliminating or reducing their effects on the occupants exposed.
An electromagnetic field is created whenever current is flowing. The greater the current the greater the electromagnetic field.
This is why meter boxes and power lines are such a concern. Laptop computers and mobile phones however also produce electromagnetic radiation and they are of major concern as they are in such close proximity to the body and often for extended periods of time. Young children are particularly at risk as there brains are still developing and there is still plenty of cell division taking place.
What is geomancy?
Geomancy refers to dowsing the earth. Building Biology is unique in that it considers the scientific as well as the energetic aspects of Geomancy, which concerns itself with the natural energetic fields created by the earth. These fields are created by cracks in the earth called geological faults as well as natural geomagnetic lines. Water courses and other forms of geopathic stress are also considered.
Energy left behind in a building by a previous occupant is referred to as place memory and is also considered in Geomancy. Geomancy allows a Building Biologist to get a better idea of the relationship that the occupant shares with the site that they inhabit and harmonising and balancing the energy of the site is the ultimate goal in Geomancy.
These energies are located through dowsing and then remedying through various means. These phenomena are referred to as geopathic stress and have been linked to insomnia, nervousness, nightmares, fatigue, depression and cancer.
What are some of the effects of chemicals in the home or workplace?
Chemicals in the home give rise to asthma, allergies, skin irritations, respiratory illness (runny nose, sore throats, coughing), itchy eyes, eye twitching, sore eyes, allergic dermatitis, headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, memory impairment, nervousness etc. In the long term kidney damage, chronic bronchitis, lung cancer, liver damage and cancer.
TESTS HAVE NOT BEEN CONDUCTED ON THE LONG TERM HEALTH EFFECTS DUE TO REACTIONS BETWEEN INDIVIDUAL CHEMICALS PRESENT IN ONE PARTICULAR PRODUCT.
Isolated tests on some individual chemicals are carried out on animals to determine what they call an LD50. This LD50 refers to the dose of a chemical that has been found to kill 50% of the test population of animals.
IT IS THEN DECLARED SAFE AS ONLY HALF THE POPULATION DIED AND NO TESTS ARE CONTINUED OVER A LONG PERIOD OF TIME ON THE REMAINING 50%.
The incidence of asthma, allergies and breast cancer has sky rocketed since the 1950’s and this is co-incidentally the time at which chemicals were being introduced to society. Many of the chemicals in our everyday products were developed and used in one form or another in the Second World War. It is amazing to think that we have only been exposed to the cocktail of chemicals in the home for 50 – 60 years and the incidence of disease, cancer; allergies, asthma etc have sky rocketed in this time.
Books have been written about the legacy we are leaving for future generations and how weaker and weaker children are being born as we unknowingly pass down the cocktails of chemicals to our children.
A recent study in the United States found startling amounts of chemicals, like Bisphenol A used in tinned foods, in the bodies of newborn babies.
What effects can electromagnetic radiation ( EMR) have on me and what are some common sources of EMR?
Some sources are electric blankets, mobile phones, meter boxes, powerlines, heaters, clock radios, microwaves, extractor fans, dishwashers,mobile phone charges, laptop computers, electrical appliances,substations and faulty wiring. Anything that carries or draws a high electrical current will generate high electromagnetic fields.
Some health effects from EMR exposure are restless sleep, insomnia, headaches, nightmares, loss of short term memory, inability to concentrate, teeth grinding and jaw clenching.
Some more serious health effects are leukaemia, reproductive problems, breast cancer, miscarriages, brain tumours, Alzheimer’s disease, chronic fatigue and heart problems.
Electromagnetic radiation from wireless transmission devices like mobile phones, baby monitors, DECT cordless phones, wireless internet and GPS exhibit similar symptoms.
What are some causes of indoor air pollution?
Lack of ventilation and fresh air exchange (leads to mould, stale air, fatigue, carbon dioxide toxicity), the average vacuum cleaner, synthetic chemical air fresheners, photocopiers (emit ozone), new paint, varnish, nail polish removers, faulty gas appliances, unflued gas heaters (gas emits carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and carbon dioxide amongst other so called combustion gases), perfume, new pressed wood products (like kitchen cupboards and bench tops), new carpets, new curtains, dust mites, dust, asbestos, some insulation (synthetic mineral fibres), smoke, formaldehyde (used in glues, resins, paints, building materials , caravans, mobile homes, shelving, cabinetry and furniture). Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, which means it is known to cause cancer and is used in so many applications.
Volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) are also present in all commercial cleaning agents. This is why there is such a strong smell when going down the detergent aisle in the supermarket. It is all the VOC’s off gassing. These detergents are often placed in the vicinity of food in the kitchen and every time the detergent cupboard (often under the sink where the hot water pipe increases the amount of off gassing ) is opened you take in a big breath of VOC’s.
How do you implement the “precautionary principle”?
You implement the precautionary principle in this context by getting a Building Biologist to visit your home and to advise you on personal care and cleaning products, recommend the best water filters and educate you on how to clean and maintain a healthy home or workspace. The precautionary principle simply implies that if there are chemicals or electromagnetic field exposure levels, for which there is uncertain long term health effects, it is best to eliminate or minimise these exposures just in case. Doing this is usually very simple and inexpensive. The key is being educated about the hazards that you had no idea existed and slowly exploring and changing over to non-toxic products and healthier lifestyle habits.
How much of an effect can cleaning a building of its various pollutants have?
By simply fitting a shower filter patients have got rid of, or dramatically decreased asthma, dermatitis, rashes, dry skin, headaches and other respiratory related effects. By adopting non-toxic cleaning habits and reducing the chemicals in your home you reduce the amount of toxins that your body has to deal with. This means your immune system will improve as your body can go to work on other aspects of your health.
You will have improved energy, quality of sleep, fewer allergies or no allergies over time and less risk of contracting all the ailments mentioned in question 2 and 6.
Infants and children will have a stronger immune function and less sensitivities.
Parents have the power to affect there children’s future ability to deal with illness!!
I realise that you can work with all health practitioners but are there any that you work particularly well with? (e.g. acupuncture, feng shui, naturopath etc.)
Naturopaths, doctors, massage therapists, Chiropractors, Acupuncturists, Homeopaths, Bowen Therapists and Myotherapists.
There is no one health practitioner that we particularly work better with, because people go to the health practitioner of their choice as they entrust their health in that practitioner. It does not change the fact that the patient needs the treatment as a result of their environment. A patient’s ailments are often brought on by environmental factors (incl. food, water and lifestyle), stress and / or genes.
Building biology will reduce the toxic load on the body by removing the SOURCE of many toxins.