HELP - My new townhouse is making me sick

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by foxglove9922, Sep 29, 2005.

  1. foxglove9922

    foxglove9922 New Member

    Just moved 1 month ago into a townhouse. Was worried from the start about the stairs but the price was right for this single mom on SSD and my CFS has been improving.

    Over the course of the last month both my daughter (also CFS) and I have been having steadily declining health.

    The mold smell downstairs in the basement where we only go to use the washer and dryer is unbearable and we know this is a trigger for us.

    Also, the kitchen cupboards have a "sickish sweet" ordor in them that gags us just going out into the kitchen. These buildings are old and so are the cabinets. We are by the way renting and just signed a 1 year rental agreement.

    I have dropped from 132 pounds to 114 pounds in the last month due to the fact that I'm getting sicker and sicker with the CFS and the smell in the kitchen just turns my stomach. My 5'3" daughter just slipped below 90 pounds.

    On top of all of this new carpet was installed in the living room and I wonder about offgassing as well as the new paint.

    Everyday we are just a little bit sicker mostly with congestion, sore throats, fatigue, body aches and a dizzying feeling. I fear the day is coming when we will be totally bedridden.

    Any suggestions, please on how to get this smell out of the kitchen cupboards. I've tried bleach and pinesol. I've placed a rug in front of the basement door and am considering putting plastic up over it and walking around to the back of the building to use my washer and dryer.

    Is there an agency that could come in and investigate what is happening here? Would amonia be better than bleach?

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.......foxglove
    [This Message was Edited on 09/29/2005]
  2. Jeanne-in-Canada

    Jeanne-in-Canada New Member

    You know that scary voice of impending doom the stars of all those horror movies hear (that they never listen to) before they are systematically offed, one by one. Well consider me that.

    You and your daughter are suffering from acute sick building syndrome. The fact you are losing weight so fast tells me if you don't get out soon, your lives are in danger. I've been in your situation. Even after I got out of the sick building (which I stayed in 5 mths too long) I had the battle of my life to stop losing weight and just survive. It set me back several years from substantial recovery I'd already managed. I've never fully gotten it back.

    I really feel for you, I know the nightmare you are going through. Minus the part where I have to watch my daughter getting as sick as me. Find a place to stay, ASAP, and see if you can deal w/ the issues from a safe environment. It's highly doubtful though.

    If those cupboards are new, the sickly sweet smell is partical board, and its mishmash of glue and chemicals outgassing. The worst of the outgassing will take at least a year, maybe 2 for you because you are so sensitized. Partical board actually never stops noticably outgassing if its a really large area, like cupboards. The carpets are maybe more dangerous and volotile, they could take years to outgas, but you could remove them.

    Really, you just can't be in a new house.


    Jeanne
  3. Jgavi

    Jgavi New Member

    I sold my townhome and before it was sold it went through a MOLD check- and sure enough it had some.

    I than had my body checked and I had the same type of molds in me!

    You have to call a mold inspector and get it cleaned up- doing it yourself wont cut it because they need to take drill wholes in the walls and take out samples-

    It cost around $200 dollars for the inspection.

    Your familys health is rapidly getting worse and smelling these strange things is a very bad sign...

  4. Christinawensell

    Christinawensell New Member

    I just moved out of a house that had mold in it. We lived in there from November of 2004 to September of 2005.

    I can tell you I have never been as sick I was after moving in there. I had to take a medical leave of two months due to the fact I could not walk more than about 2 or 3 yards. For someone that is 36 years old that is scary.

    With us just moving this last month- Actually just on the 5th of this month I feel so much better. I can breathe so much better. I feel like getting up and doing laundry, and vaccumming etc.

    I was sick before moving in, but this made matters worse. Please if you can move out for you and your daughters sake.
    It is not worth it for the price of your health.

    We also moved in because of the right price 650.00 a month now we are paying 800.00 a month and it is a smaller home. I think $150.00 a month more though is worth my health.


    Good luck to you and your daughter, I wish you both the best. I know how hard it is to move, it is a sacrifice. I did not want to either. It ended up that the landlord needed to move her son back into the house and she gave us only 30 days to move out, so she actually did us a favor, otherwise I am sure we would still be there too. I can't tell you what a blessing in disguise it was though that we are not though.


    Christina
  5. rockyjs

    rockyjs Member

    I can sure feel for you...I've been a refugee for most of my life! Seems like I was always sensitive to something no matter where we moved.

    The mold is probably a major problem. You can try hanging some UV lights in the basement to kill of the mold...leave them turned on all the time. If you can get hold of an ozone machine that's even better, but if you turn it up on high to zap mold, you have to air out the area before staying in it for long.

    For new carpet and paint I've found that frying potatoes for several hours helps (I've even set up a hot plate in the offending rooms!). Also keeping a crockpot going with spaghetti sauce seasoned however you tolerate will permeate the carpet and break down some of the smell.

    For cabinets I use freshly ground coffee that I tolerate in a small container with the lid off. Also strong chocolate helps for me.

    Some of my chemically sensitive friends buy large rolls of aluminum foil at a place like Sam's Club and cover the inside of cabinets and drawers with that (hold in place with tacks). I've even known a few who put it on their walls a floors - that's quite a chore.

    Ammonia is usually worse for you than bleach if you have liver problems (and that's usually the root cause of the chemical sensitivities). Once you use bleach you can go back over the area with baking soda in water to neutralize the chlorine (which is also not good for you but at least it kills mold).

    I'm so sorry you have to deal with this. Keep your windows open as much as you can and if you get too sick, have your doctor write a note to get you out of the lease.

    Jan



  6. windblade

    windblade Active Member

    I agree with Jeanne and everybody that says to leave!
    I live in an area with a high-water table, always producing mold. I use Hepa air-cleaners; vinegar in
    water in a spray bottle clears up mold instantly.
    But you and your daughter sound too extremely sick to
    battle your whole environment. It sounds like you need
    medical help immediately. Keep your windows open as much
    as possible for now, and don't use your basement.
    If you can find another place to go while you build up
    your health, and your daughters; then you can think clearly
    how to get out of the lease.
    I'm so sorry that this happened. Since you were doing so
    well with your cfs, you can aim to get well again in the
    right environment.
  7. elliespad

    elliespad Member

    I would ask if the building has been sprayed for ants, termites, cockroaches, etc, flea bombs. These products stay for YEARS, even after airing out. And if you can smell it, it may be recent. If this is the case, move if at all possible, and if not at all possible, begin IV Glutathione AND INHALED Glutathione using a Nebulizer used for Asthma.

    Best of luck
  8. windblade

    windblade Active Member

    Let us know how you are. You have been in my thoughts
    and prayers since I read your post!
  9. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    If they can't help you, they may be able to direct you to someone who can. After Hurricane Charley, they directed me to the mold expert here who was extremely helpful.

    Your landlord has an obligation to provide a safe rental unit. It is obvious that this building is making you both sick. If you want to break your lease, you may have a legal basis for this. There are lawyers who do pro-bono work and the local legal society can usually direct people to these volunteers.

    Good luck to you.

    Love, Mikie
  10. foxglove9922

    foxglove9922 New Member

    Oh, how can I even begin to thank all of you wonderful people who responded to my post.

    I am renting this townhouse and will probably have to document everything I do and the calls I place to have the situation recitified. I do not have a second income to fall back on and coming up with another security deposit is impossible.

    I've already talked with my daughter about the REAL possibility of moving into a woman's shelter until we can get back on our feet financially enough to get another place.

    But before I do something that rash, I'm going to try some of your suggestions. I did use bleach on the cupboards yesterday, inside and out and have all my dishes on the dining room table. I think the bleach itself further exacerbated my symptoms or maybe having my head stuck in those stinky cupboards did it but I'm down 2 more pounds today and sicker than ever. The horrible smell returned 2 hours after the bleaching.........so discouraging.

    You guys gave me so many suggestions, I'm not even sure where to begin but I just put together a Walmart list of what you've mentioned and because I'm too sick, a friend of mine is going to make the trip for me and help me with it.

    I will keep you all posted..........many blessings for all your kind words. I've sent my daughter away for the weekend to my moms in the hopes that she will improve some,,,,,we are losing weight so fast that I fear something terrible is going to happen to us.

    best wishes to all.............foxglove
  11. windblade

    windblade Active Member

    I'm so glad that your daughter is out of there!
    I was thinking over your problem last night - and really
    believe that everyone's suggestions are right about leaving.

    I have had extreme chemical sensitivity to the kind of
    particle board of your cabinets; and went through my
    house getting rid of everything toxic. I think those cabinets are hopeless, and very dangerous to your health.

    Would it be possible to take one or two rooms and strip
    them down - keep the windows open - get rid of the carpet
    Keep only natural materials in there, and use it as a
    temporary place to heal a bit, and plan your next move.

    I would not fight with the mold or cabinets in your condition! You are too sick,and can not afford to get
    sicker.

    Not sure if we can post books, but there is one by
    Debra Lynn Dadd 'Home Safe Home'.

    I cleared out everything - artificial fragrances in soaps,
    perfumes - plastics. My MATRESS was the most toxic. Got
    rid of it and so many other things until I had one room
    where I could breathe, and start building my health up.

    I am keeping you in my prayers that you can think
    clearly about how to handle this very difficult situation.
  12. jenunsa

    jenunsa New Member

    Hey, sorry you're having such major problems with your new place...

    I agree with the others who said to move. If your landlord doesn't do anything about the problems, break the lease and get out of there. It's not worth it to stay.

    In the meantime, here's a suggestion that may sound a little nuts, but I'm totally serious: buy a respirator to wear around the house. Respirators are basically gas masks. They have filters that will remove gasses, particulates, MOLD SPORES, etc. I used to work in chem labs with all kinds of dangerous toxic fumes around me, and quite often I had to wear a respirator. If you buy the right kind, oh man, it's the freshest air you will ever breathe when you're wearing it. It sounds like your body could use this type of instant relief from air pollutants.
    You can find respirators online at websites of companies that sell lab equipment/supplies/safety equipment, etc.

    Good luck to you and your daughter.
  13. Dukate

    Dukate New Member

    FOXGLOVE, YOU HAVE RECEIVED A LOT OF GOOD INFORMATION - YOU HAVE MULTIPLE CHEMICAL SENSATIVITIES - THE FORMALDEHYDE IS USED TO MAKE LOTS OF THINGS, YOUR RUGS, YOUR CLOTHES. I HAVE THROW RUGS AND WASH ALL MY CLOTHES BEFORE I WEAR THEM. YOU SHOULD GET OUT OF THAT PLACE IF YOU CAN. IF NOT HIRE A PROFESSIONAL CLEANER TO CLEAN YOUR BASEMENT WITH CLOREX TO HILL THE MOLD BUT IT PROBABLY WILL NOT BE PERMENANT. NEW PAINT WILL KILL YOU EXPECIALLY OIL. I HAD A TONSIL BLOW UP, SWELL AND STAY THAT WAY FOR A YEAR AFTER HAVING OUR HOUSE PAINTED WHEN WE LIVED IN FLA. WAS DUMB OF ME TO HAVE OIL PUT ON THE WOODWORK. YOUR CABINETS ARE PROBABLY OLD AS MINE WERE IN FLA. SORRY ALL THIS ADVISE IS SO MISERABLE BUT IT IS THE TRUTH. I WISH I KNEW WHO TO TELL YOU TO CALL BUT I WOULD START WITH THE BOARD OF HEALTH IN YOUR TOWNSHIP OR CITY FOR ADVISE. AND NO AMONIA WILL NOT BE BETTER THEN BLEACH BUT YOU SHOULD NOT BE THE ONE TO USE THE BLEACH. YOU HAVE TO MANY PROBLEMS TO DEAL WITH - LEAVE IF YOU CAN.

    IRENE
  14. Dukate

    Dukate New Member

    I DON'T KNOW HOW HARD IT WOULD BE FOR YOU TO SUBLET YOUR PLACE AND MOVE TO ANOTHER IF YOU ARE STUCK WITH A SIGNED LEASE FOR A YEAR BUT IT WAS A THOUGHT I HAD AFTER SIGNING OFF.
    BLESS YOU BOTH AND GOOD LUCK IRENE
  15. ckk

    ckk New Member

    i have an idea, call the landlord, ( i am assuming you are not a lawyer and dont know much about it) but ya know what? he doesn't know that! tell him you just got off the phone w/ your lawyer and he said that you have to give me and my daughter a place to live while you clean all the mold from my condo because you have made us horribly sick. and maybe just maybe, we wont sue you for health damages and damages to our personal belongings that we will probably have to throw out! you should know being a landlord that it is highly against the law to rent out or sell a resident that has mold, mildew or any other toxins that ran rampid thru the home. so, if you dont want to pay an arm and a leg, my daughter and i will gladly move into another one of your condos until ours is cleaned free of ALL toxins. how does that sound? good luck.
    ckk
    ps feel better
  16. lin123

    lin123 New Member

    Back in 1996 I lived in a townhouse. There was a drain in my basement and everytime I went down to the basement I could smell like a damp smell. I poured bleach down the drain and a couple of days later, it would smell again. Then I started to get sick. One day the apartment manager knocked on my door and said they had to put this meter in my basement and leave it for so many days. Wouldn't you know when they checked it I had Radon in my basement. They say Radon is odorless. A company came in and drilled a hole in my basement floor, put plastic pipes in that ran outside. On one pipe it had a Radon meter on it and if it got below a level there was a 800 number that you had to call to have them come back out right away.
    I asked this company how high my Radon was, they said it was off the charts and that the apartment manager wouldn't let them give it out. The guy did say if I was you I would move A.S.A.P.
    To this day I feel that is what has cause me my FM. Please have it checked out. No only mold,but could also be RADON.

    [This Message was Edited on 10/01/2005]
    [This Message was Edited on 10/01/2005]
  17. cherylsue

    cherylsue Member

    Me dear friend, I am sorry you and your daughter are in this dilemma. You have received good advice to move, but failing that, stop using the chlorine bleach. This was discussed on the message board earlier this summer, and I think it was Mikie who said use hydrogen peroxide instead -it's less toxic. My sister -in -law went to the emergency room from bleach fumes. You don't want to mess with chlorine bleach. Over the counter hydrogen peroxide will also kill mold without the fumes.

    Pinesol is not good either. Squeeze fresh lemon juice and use that for cleaning. Diluted white vinegar is good, too. If you have a microwave, put some lemon juice in a bowl and heat to counteract the fumes from outgassing. Use a nylon shower counter rather than a vinyl one. Check out the message board for other tips on how to handle chemical sensitivities.

    I pray that you will find relief and an answer to this vexing problem.

    I'm doing okay. I'm working full time. I have spurts of energy, overdo, and then I have to pull back and take it easy. I will always live with the spectre of CFS, but I'm trying not to think about it tooo much.

    My thoughts are with you.

    CherylSue
  18. JenniferAnn539

    JenniferAnn539 New Member

    Foxglove,

    So sorry you are going through so much. My heart goes out to you. It is so important to have a safe home environment.

    As others have said, you have gotten a lot of helpful suggestions.

    Until you call the landlord, or hazmat, or think about getting out of there here is my suggestion; which is the same as a few other posters. Put one part white vinegar to two parts water in a spray bottle and spray the carpet. White vinegar apparently helps release the formaldehyde in the carpet so it dissipates. Also place diluted white vinegar in bowls on the carpet floor and around the apt. I would suggest placing bowls in the cabinets as well to absorb the formaldehyde in them. This really works. It is not a miracle and it may take a couple of days to really notice a difference, but it does work. Each day or two rinse and refill the bowls with new solution, and keep the windows open to air out.

    I had an issue with a new carpet of a common area of a summer rental last year (I thought the smell would kill me), and the white vinegar solution worked really well.

    Do you have air purifiers, if not can you purchase or borrow one or many from others to help filter your air?

    This summer we had an issue with the landlord staining the outside of the house while we were vacationing, and those chemicals really got to me. We purchased an Ionic Pro from Walmart. We closed the windows, shut the door and let the air purifier do it's job. The purifier/ionizer worked wonders.

    I hope you are able to get some help and relief in your new home environment.

    Please post again to let us know how you are doing.

    Best of luck, we are all pulling for you!

    Warm Regards,
    Jennifer
  19. foxglove9922

    foxglove9922 New Member

    thank you all so kindly for the responses. I've placed yet another call to the landlord and contacted the the Department of Health today. I am becoming more and more bedridden and sicker each day. The smell is horendous and turns my stomach to the point where I can no longer eat.

    I suppose it would be a good idea to put something in writing for I fear we will have to vacate this place to save ourselves.

    I called information today for the the number to HAZNET,,,,no listing. How do you get ahold of them?

    foxglove
  20. pumpkinpatch

    pumpkinpatch New Member

    You are right. You need to get out of there to save yourselves! Luckily you are renting and didn't buy, you can just leave.

    Make arrangements now.

    If your not eating your going to get weaker and weaker. See if you can get someone to help you take charge and demand action.

    Let us know and I hope you get that number today.

    Cindy