2 Strategies for Preventing Chemical Sensitivity Symptoms


Many of our homes and offices are making us sick. Building finishes, cleaning products, and furniture off-gas toxic chemicals. Although certain synthetic fragrances might smell like a spring meadow or bouquet of flowers, many contain toxic chemicals and sometimes carcinogens. Even the new car smell is comprised of volatile organic compounds and off-gassing chemicals. Sadly, for people suffering from chemical sensitivity, even low-level exposure to these synthetic chemicals can create debilitating symptoms.

Common causes & symptoms of chemical sensitivity

Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) or idiopathic environmental intolerances (IEI) is triggered by many common chemicals. Unfortunately, perfumes, furniture, carpeting, flooring, adhesives, building finishes, cleaning products, and personal care products can all trigger reactions. Of these, chemicals with strong scents are among the most common. Without proper ventilation, harmful levels of contaminants can build up, degrading health.

The symptoms include headaches, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, depression, a runny nose, and itchy eyes. When reactions are severe enough, some people may be forced to avoid certain environments or ask for accommodations.

Preventing reactions to chemical sensitivity with cleaner indoor air

Although we often think of outdoor air pollution as being harmful, indoor air quality is often many times more contaminated. Symptoms are often triggered in indoor environments. It is essential to bring in fresh air to dilute pollutants and to exhaust contaminated air from our homes and offices.

Zehnder heat recovery ventilators supply a continuous stream of fresh, filtered air to living spaces and simultaneously exhausting stale, contaminated air from kitchens and bathrooms. These heat recovery ventilators are up to 95 percent efficient in transferring heat from the exhaust air to the intake air, saving energy.

Retrofit projects with Zehnder systems have shown a significant increase in indoor air quality, including reduced carbon dioxide, formaldehyde, microbial volatile organic compounds, and total volatile organic compound (VOC) levels. These systems have even been used to lower mold counts in the home, helping to treat chronic Lyme disease successfully.

Reducing airborne contaminants

One of the best ways to promote home air quality and optimum health is to introduce fewer toxins into the home and office environment. Use personal care and cleaning products with natural fragrances (not synthetic ones), prevent mold and moisture issues from developing, and avoid toxic building finishes and furniture. Using Greenguard-certified products is a great way to get started.

It is said that home is where the heart is. Unfortunately, homes can also trigger chemical sensitivity symptoms. Proper ventilation and source reduction can go a long way in creating a healthy, vibrant home.