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Thread: New House Allergy Syndrome??

  1. #1
    Senior Member tp912's Avatar
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    Default New House Allergy Syndrome??

    Is it possible that a new construction home could be giving me problems? May sound crazy but since moving in 2 months ago my skin hasn't been calm a single day. I wake up daily with a swollen red face, but when I spend hours away from home my skin tends to slowly calm.

    What could be the problem?

  2. #2
    Senior Member tp912's Avatar
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    Yes New Home Syndrome is getting to be quite a problem nowadays, with the outgassing of formaldihyde and other chemicals from adhesives in OSB and cabinets, grout and stone sealers, carpets, new furniture, and on and on. Cleaning does not address this issue. The problem is worst for the first couple of years and decreases with time. The one thing you can do about outgassing is ventilate. Even in the winter open up the doors and windows for at least few (10-15) minutes morning and evening. Get a COMPLETE air exchange throughout the entire house. Yes this will cost you a bit extra on your heating bill but it is easy to try and if this is in fact the problem you should detect a difference. It is worth the effort if you all feel better. Open up all rooms. Air the place out thoroughly and often. Winter is not the height of the outdoor allergy season, sensitivity to outgassed chemicals building up in closed indoor spaces will mimic allergy symtoms. (You can be allergic to many of the indoor chemicals).

    Just read this.. sounds like this may be my problem. Hopefully it won't take years.

  3. #3
    Senior Member tp912's Avatar
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    Here is a little more in case anyone may be curious -

    You’d expect dust or mold to trigger allergy symptoms. But few people expect their computer, carpet, or kitchen cabinets to cause an asthma attack or a case of hives.
    Off-gassing and Allergies

    Indoor air pollutants, however, including those that are “off-gassed” from common products, can irritate your respiratory system, says Clifford W. Bassett, MD, vice chair of the Public Education Committee of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology and an assistant clinical professor at Long Island College Hospital, in Brooklyn, New York. “This is especially true of people with seasonal and indoor allergies, asthma, and chronic sinusitis.”

    According to Dr. Bassett, off-gassing can cause a whole host of allergy symptoms, ranging from puffy, red, and watery eyes to a runny nose, congestion, coughing, and asthma-like symptoms. Off-gassing “can also cause skin irritations like rashes, itchiness, and hives.”

    The released chemicals can prove irritating on their own or can exacerbate allergy symptoms you may already have, Bassett says. For example, exposure to new carpet could worsen existing symptoms of a pollen allergy, even if those symptoms had been in check before the exposure to the carpet. “Anything that affects the nose, sinuses, or respiratory system can have an impact on allergy symptoms,” Bassett explains.

    Which Products Off-gas?
    “Off-gassing” refers to the evaporation of synthetic compounds used in manufacturing a host of products, from cars to computers and toys to tennis balls. Two of the most identifiable types of off-gassing are the telltale “new car” and “new carpet” smells. Adhesives, wallpaper, and paints are other common offenders, Bassett says — “Their smell makes it obvious that they’re giving off gas.”

    Off-gassing can also be odorless. A study conducted at Stockholm University in Sweden found that certain computer monitors emit a chemical — triphenyl phosphate — that can cause allergic reactions. Triphenyl phosphate is a flame retardant that's added to many plastics (in the case of the Swedish study, it was contained in the computer monitors’ casings). When turned on, the monitors' heat caused the compound, which is not bonded to the plastic, to start evaporating. This raises the question: Does exposure to such compounds at the levels typically found in new products pose a potential long-term health risk?

    “We don’t yet know” the answer to that, Bassett says.

    Low levels of formaldehyde, a colorless and sharp-smelling gas, can also accumulate indoors from construction materials and household products like new furniture, cabinetry, and floor coverings. “This is actually very common,” says Bassett. Some studies have suggested that people who are exposed to formaldehyde for long periods are more likely to experience asthma-related respiratory symptoms, such as coughing and wheezing. Formaldehyde also comes from paints, varnishes, and floor finishes (fresh finishes tend to produce high formaldehyde levels), as well as fireplaces and wood-burning stoves, and commonly causes burning and watering eyes, skin irritation, and rash.

    Other common household items that off-gas with little to no odor include bedding, furniture, and cabinetry.

    Cutting Off the Gas
    The best way to reduce the chance of having an allergic reaction, says Bassett, is to avoid products that are likely to give off gas. Avoidance, of course, isn’t always an option.

    So here are more tips on how to reduce off-gassing in your home:

    * Regularly move air through your home, either by using fans or, when weather permits, by opening doors and windows. This helps rid exhaust fumes from your home.
    * Many offending chemicals, such as formaldehyde, off-gas at higher rates when humidity and temperature are higher. Keep the humidity below 45 percent to decrease the amount of formaldehyde and other chemicals that will off-gas.
    * Planning on purchasing a new carpet or products that contain solvents, adhesives, and exposed particleboard? If possible, ask that they be opened and allowed to sit in a warehouse or in fresh, circulating air so they can off-gas before they come into your home. Or keep them in your garage (with a door or window cracked open) for at least a week before bringing them into your house. Off-gas levels of many compounds decrease dramatically in the first few days after they are removed from packaging.
    * Keep your computers in well-ventilated areas and take hourly breaks from the computer to cut down on your exposure.

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