Family with severe allergies and asthma...
Last Post 22 Apr 2009 08:53 AM by jamesmacdonald1. 11 Replies.
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renangleUser is Offline
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20 Apr 2009 07:01 AM
I have a friend of mine and her son have gotten pretty sick recently due to the house they were living in that has somehow gotten them to become allergic to nearly everything under the sun and asthmatic.  Currently they are living in Texas where they are being seen by some great physicians to treat them and figure out exactly what is going on with them.

They will be moving home and will be looking to build a new house to accomodate their needs.  The house has to be extremely hypoallergenic and I was wondering if someone had come across this before.  My immediate thoughts were to build an ICF House with an air exchange and a heppa filter, etc.  She asked her physician and he had some concern about the EPS, but I can't see how that would be harmful.  IF the EPS concern is resolved she said that she may want to consider ICF walls inside as well or possibly steel stud (her doctor wants as little wood in the house as possible)  Rather than sheetrock, her doctor told her to consider magnesium oxide board or plaster.  They want to remove all the wood possible or at least have pesticide free wood materials in the home.  If land wasn't an issue would you build a one level or two story? 

Has anyone come across something like this?  Once covered is it normal that someone could have a reaction to the EPS?  Granted I realize this is not a normal post, but I'm hoping for some help. 

Thanks,

renangle
jamesmacdonald1User is Offline
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20 Apr 2009 07:16 AM
Anything is possible and the response to EPS when covered wiill depend on the extent and nature of the chemical sensitivities. Everyone is different. You might want to consider ICF systems that don't use EPS. If you investigate products like Durisol or the principles of Bau Biologie you should find some good information on the how to build a healthy home with ICF (either with or without EPS). I am not fully informed on the subject but have spoken to people that are prominent in this field and have based my response on these conversations. Others that are more informed can be found at:

http://www.createhealthyhomes.com

or

www.econest.com
DonnerwetterUser is Offline
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20 Apr 2009 11:20 AM
Our "Lop-sided" Block (2" EPS - 6" Concrete - 10mm MgO2 board on the inside) would be just what the doctor ordered. Where are you located?
JakeGUser is Offline
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20 Apr 2009 11:30 AM

 

I recall hearing one my ICF suppliers (Durisol guy) tell a story about a customer who had severe allergies and all the building components going into their new home had to be tested prior to approval.  They basically exposed the lady to each material after it was ground up and placed in some sort of bag and then she inhaled and exhaled the air within the bag (a few times I'm assuming..) to see if any effect came of it.
I have heard of people being allergic to all kinds of wood, to polyurethane glues, etc. but not EPS specifically.  Possibly some sort of test is in order?

renangleUser is Offline
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20 Apr 2009 02:45 PM
Thanks for your input jamesmcdonald1 and JakeG, I've given that some thought. I haven't heard of someone being allergic to the EPS, but since I know this person, I just want to make sure I ask as many people as possible.

Donnerwetter, I appreciate the offer, but as an ICF Distributer I would probably be inclined to go with my own and use the MgO2 board.

Simply put, I'm wondering if there are others that have come across something similar with regards to hyper allergenic people and what you may have recommended.

renangle
jusaxemeUser is Offline
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20 Apr 2009 03:20 PM

call George in Austin.  He will know names and verification data if there are any reported problems.

512-288-9097

AltonUser is Offline
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20 Apr 2009 03:37 PM
Whether to build a one-storey or two can be a difficult choice.  If budget is not a problem, then the climate should be considered.  If this home in Texas will be built in a cooling dominated area, then a one storey in contact with the earth should be easier to cool.  If it is in a heating dominated area, then a two-storey may be more efficient since heat rises.  A two-storey does save on foundation and roof.  Regardless of style, be sure to superinsulate and control the infiltration rate so that comfort and clean air can be assured.
Residential Designer & Construction Technology Consultant -- E-mail: Alton at Auburn dot Edu, 334 826-3979
toddmUser is Offline
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20 Apr 2009 03:42 PM
It depends on the source of their allergies. ICF construction with proper ventilation would mitigate mold allergies by reducing opportunities for growth.
But their problem could be allergic reactions to multiple chemicals, with hyrdocarbons at the head of the pack. In that case, their doctor would be rightly skeptical of EPS. He would be equally suspicious of MgO2, which I believe is chlorinated during its production.
If it is chemical, you might point your friend to Wimberley Texas. It's become a safe haven for the chemically sensitive. (It won't help to avoid chemicals in your lifestyle if your neighbor is out spraying 2,4 D.) Sue Pitman has been the public figure there. There are a number of forums for Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. Yahoo has several including some that address housing.
JellyUser is Offline
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20 Apr 2009 06:09 PM
On a side note, they are probably aware of this, but if possible they should choose not to use natural gas in their home, as the presence of any combustion can be an asthma trigger. Likewise, they should avoid a fireplace in the home.
renangleUser is Offline
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21 Apr 2009 08:32 AM
Thanks Jelly, you make a good point. I don't think it is so bad that they have to move to Wimberley, TX, apparerntly of the group of people seeing the specialist in Dallas they are the least severe. The new home would be in Virginia. Again, I do appreciate the input.
JakeGUser is Offline
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22 Apr 2009 06:26 AM
Hi Renangle,
Although I'm not located anywhere near Virginia, I'm aware of a "green" consultant who may be of value to your friends who is located in Kilmarnock Virginia.
She has a green building consulting firm and lives in a Durisol home that she built.  Its looks to be a fairly "anti-allergy" home...
Try Elizabeth Gruben @ 866-546-9233
http://highland-place.com

Good luck and I hope your friend does well.

jamesmacdonald1User is Offline
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22 Apr 2009 08:53 AM
There is also a person named Marilee Nelson in Texas 830-238-4589. She is a healthy home consultant and has a lot of information on the potential risks with EPS. She consults across the country and apparently, the new concern is with the flame retardants that are used in the EPS (and furniture and plastics, etc). I am not trying to "bash" EPS - just provide some information that people may not be aware of. I am interested in knowing the full story on all products and do not want to ignore any potential negatives that need to be addressed. She actually pointed me to an EPA webpage http://www.epa.gov/hpvis/rbp/HBCD.3194556.Web.RBP.31308.pdf

Apparently we started out with several flame retardant compounds that were used and successively, each one became banned. There are still a few in use, but it looks like it is a matter of tme before they too become banned as more research is conducted and the effects are published.

EPS bead manufacturers need to be aware of the issues so that they can find alternate flame retardants. They are out there and just need to be used. It is the same thing as what happened with the blowing agents. Once we knew the harmful effects of the CFCs, we found alternate less harmful options.

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