Thursday, April 3, 2014

Sick Building Update

(Reclaimed from Bubblews)

I know I've posted something on this topic at Bubblews before: Some buildings are sick. Some buildings make people sick. Some translations of the Bible, trying to express the concept of "something that needs to be quarantined because it will make people seriously ill," describe these houses as "leprous," while describing what's actually in the houses as fungi in the genera Cladosporium and Fusarium--green and reddish mold. Those lucky ancient Hebrews must have suffered terribly from exposure to out-of-control household mold, but they never had to contend with the modern-day pesticides that induce more serious allergy and flu-type symptoms in susceptible individuals, faster. 

Is this a sponsor-friendly topic? Who knows, who cares, I want to be honest. The corporations that make these toxic chemicals also make other chemical products that aren't intended to kill smaller animals and that I've *not* seen do any great harm to humans and domestic animals. For example, in the U.S., I'd like to urge everybody to stop buying "Raid" (the insecticide) and buy "Off!" (the insect repellent, which also comes in an aerosol can that produces an oily vapor you could use to kill insects if you really wanted to, and which doesn't make me ill). The cats don't like the smell of "Off!" but I've never had a healthy cat collapse and die just after "Off!" has been sprayed.

Anyway, the update: Last week, when I didn't have a way to get online and didn't want to be inside a computer center anyway, I went into a cute little store down by the Clinch River.

It happens that a car pool buddy (for that day) had gone into that building with me, years ago, when it was up for sale. The owner had proudly told us he'd just sprayed poison on the weeds in the side yard that day. That was the last thing I heard before I started sneezing and couldn't stop. I grabbed a handful of napkins and ran outside, holding them over my face, and shut myself inside the car. The "hay fever" symptoms became less disabling right away. They lasted for another two hours. Car pool buddy had no explanation to offer the owner about why I'd rushed out, but decided not to buy the building.

So now, seeing that the building was finally open under new ownership, car pool buddy wondered who'd bought it and how they were liking it. So we went back into the building. Nobody had sprayed any poisons lately. However, the ground floor of the building was still just ten feet above the river, and we've had some very wet summers since then. The building smelled musty. I walked slowly down one aisle, looking at merchandise. By the end of the aisle I didn't notice the odor any more...because my sinuses had started to clog. I walked back up the next aisle, and by the time I got there I was trying not to sneeze. Car pool buddy had been talking to the new proprietor, who had released as much information as he wanted to and was now trying to sell my car pool buddy some overpriced object, so car pool buddy must have been glad to look at me and say something about "take her to the doctor." We got out fast, and since this was apparently a fungus allergy reaction rather than a pesticide reaction, I was breathing normally, three miles down the road.

And there, in the interest of science, is the difference between the way I react to mold and the way I react to toxic chemicals. As a child I had one allergy reaction or another, constantly; as an adult I rarely have allergy reactions. My whole family was seriously confused, at times, wondering what I was allergic to...because apparently I have no pollen allergies whatsoever and have very little reaction even to poison ivy. But I'm extremely allergic to some "pesticides."