Episode #17 Healthy Home Hacks - Sleeping with the Enemy

In this episode I chat with Ron and Lisa Beres on their podcast Healthy Home Hacks It was a lot of fun talking with fellow Building Biologists and people who are passionate about creating healthy houses.

In this episode, Building Biology Environmental Consultant, Stephen Collette, BBEC, BBNC, LEED AP, CAHP, BSS shares insight on simple and affordable ways to create a safe sleep sanctuary. Stephen breaks down the enemies affecting our health while we sleep each night including biological and chemical pollution, particulate matter, and electromagnetic radiation.

Stephen sheds light on the importance of reducing these pollutants for not just adults, but for babies as well because their immune systems are not fully developed until about 12 years of age. He shares why this is the most important, but often overlooked room in the house since we spend the most time here. Stephen shares practical tips, many that are free, that anyone can take right away to improve their health.

Lisa Beres

This episode of healthy home hacks is sponsored by the building biology Institute to learn more about creating indoor environments that support health and wellness visit their free resources at building biology institute.org.

Narrator

How would you like to improve your health and keep your family safe? You’re listening to the healthy home hacks podcast where we firmly believe enjoying optimal health shouldn’t be a luxury. healthy home authorities and husband and wife team Ron and Lisa will help you create a home environment that will level up your health. It’s time to hear from the experts. listen in on honest conversations and gain the best tips and advice. If you’re ready to dive in and improve your well-being and increase your energy you’re in the right place. All right, here are your hosts, Baubiologists, authors, media darlings, vicarious vegans and avocado aficionados, Ron and Lisa Beres.

Ron Beres

Okay, three years ago, Lisa and I booked a national television show, which records in the bright lights of New York City. And the focus of the show was how to create a healthy home. So, needless to say, Lisa, we’re so excited to share our message to one of the largest platforms in the world. were prepared endlessly for the piece. But before we jet set it off to the city that does not sleep by the way. We arrived from California. Were a little bit jet-lagged. But we were so pleased to look at this beautiful five-star hotel, plush lobby, amazing staff. The works, it was incredible. All’s we needed. All we needed was a good night’s sleep. So, we went up to our room we went up the elevator. We’re pleasantly surprised with the accommodations. And we were ready to have a good night’s sleep. We set our clock for the next day. We had to be up early around six

Perfect timing, we’re in bed at 10. We’re ready for eight hours, and we were going to deliver for this piece. But unfortunately, the good night’s sleep didn’t happen. And that’s a perfect segue into today’s conversation about creating a sleep sanctuary because many of us are in an environment where we just can’t rest. It affects our immune system. And just like this hotel room, because of a combination of reasons that I’m going to get into, it actually affected how we were sleeping. And so, this room is beautiful as it was, the back wall was adjacent to the elevator of the hotel. And it wasn’t a noise issue. what it was a magnetic field issue that was bombarding us and disrupting our sleep. So needless to say, when the alarm went off at five, we were up. I answered the phone. We’re good to go. Yeah, no, we didn’t sleep. And then we took we went straight to the actual recording studio and the audience and we delivered a great show. That was wonderful.

But boy would it have been nice to have a good eight hours, six hours five at one hour to be nice to have one hour of sleep that night but we just didn’t get it. And like I said, that’s what we’re going to talk about. Today, we’re going to talk about creating a sleep sanctuary where you thrive and not just survive.

Lisa Beres

Yes. And today on the show, we have Steven Collette. He is passionate about buildings, Stephen excels at understanding how buildings work, whether they be heritage buildings or your brand-new house, a stone church, or even a straw bale home and everything in between. Stephen determines how they might be failing, such as materials ineffective mechanical systems or usage. He determines how the buildings could be impacting occupant health, your health, through testing and assessments for homeowners, building owners, and even insurance companies. Stephen pulls all of this knowledge together and offers solutions to make your building more

resilient, more efficient, more economical to operate, and healthier for not just you but the planet. You can find more about him at your healthy house.ca Welcome to the show, Steven. Thank you both very much for having me. I’m super excited to be hanging out, you know, diving right in what Ron sort of alluded to at the beginning is so many people are sleeping in toxic sleeping environments, and they, they look beautiful on the outside, they have gorgeous Jabez and throw pillows and glam chandelier ears and all of the things that everybody wants in their bedroom. But they’re not looking at what they can’t see the things that are hurting the reasons that run and I couldn’t get a wink of sleep the night before one of the biggest TV show segments that we’ve ever done in our life. And we want to just dive in and talk to you today about what you recommend and give us some air of the dirty laundry when it comes to the biological contaminants that are found in most bedrooms. And just to give

A little background. years ago before I got sick from my own home, I went to an immunologist just randomly to get an environmental test I thought, I’m sure I have none can you find out what you’re allergic to the environmental toxins and I was shocked to find out that I had a major dust mite allergy. And I had a down allergy among cockroach droppings in both trees and some other things. I was sleeping on a down pillow, I was sleeping on a down comforter. And I was literally like in this toxic brew where I would wake up every day all stuffed up and sinus, you know, just congested. And unbeknownst to me at that time, I had no idea and I know a lot of listeners right now are going oh my gosh, that’s me. Why am I waking up like that and just resorting to medication to you know, treat a symptom and never get to the root cause you to we’re really lucky in the fact that you had a single episode that allowed you to make that connection between your sleeping time and your health and well-being? Not everyone like you said Lisa has that opportunity that they just think it’s just par for the course this is normal. This is who I am.

Stephen Collette

When in fact it doesn’t have to be. And when we really think about our sleeping space, it does need to be a sanctuary because that’s where we spend most of our time within the home before COVID of course, but that’s where we spend most of our time in that room. And we’re trying to heal ourselves while we’re sleeping. So, this is like the priority space you want to make your house healthy. Focus on the bedroom first for sure. The biological exposures as you mentioned, dust mites we don’t think about them you know, some people have dust allergies and whatnot. But what happens is we’re oftentimes actually allergic to the dust mite. feces. Yeah, not actually. Dust but sounds dirty. Stephen. That sounds

happens is they’ll eat molds as well and other you know pathogenic things and so their feces are mycotoxic and so we can react to their feces. Now what happens is we get in bed and the eater skin cells in our hair and you know bits and stuff like that. It’s so it’s, it’s a lovely nighttime story.

But they like food water in a warm place to party just like the rest of us. And so, we give it those ideal conditions in bed. And then what we do next is in the morning, we get out of bed, then the very first thing we do is we tuck those bugs in for the rest of the day to keep that moisture and warmth in there as long as possible. Now those dust mites are partying in your bed without you

So, what we want to do to reduce the dust mite population, we can’t manage the food, right? That’s, you know, your skin cells and you know without wearing a Tyvek suit too bad or something weirder than that we can’t do anything. But we can manage the moisture. And so, in the morning, we want to do what Nana’s or omas used to do is air the bed out. Mm-hmm. And so, pull the covers back, turn the fan on open the windows and if you have some Eastern European grandmother, you’d take the bedding out and hanging over the balcony and get some fresh air. Way seven you do not make your bed.

Lisa Beres

Anyway, it’s interesting because if you see a picture of a dust mite, you know they look like little alien beings. You know, they’re very creepy, but of course, we don’t feel them. We don’t see them. We don’t smell them. We don’t know; we don’t know they’re there and you’re never going to eliminate them completely right? But we’re the goal is just to reduce right? reduce the amount right and so the

Stephen Collette

or anything like that, that you can talk about. Well, I would definitely start with a good solid vacuum, like, get up on top of the bed, take everything off and just have at it with the vacuum cleaner. So, I would go with that as far as a UV light or something. Certainly, they can be damaging to your eyes. So, you want to be cautious about what you’re using. I don’t know of any products off and yeah, put you on the spot. I’ve heard of some products that are now on the marketplace that are being used for those very reasons, right. Yeah, the ones where you can do that, but I

into the bedroom. And we just don’t need any more allergens in there. So, I don’t recommend it. That’s a tough one. Not everyone’s going to do that. And as with any recommendation, you know, we make it has to fit within people’s lifestyles if it makes sense and you’re willing to adapt, awesome. If you’re not you accept it as an educated decision. Mm-hmm. Waking up with allergies, and oh, I went through it. I know so many people do and instead of just reaching for the closest allergy medicine, think about your environment, think about, what is it these points that Stephen just made? Can I start to implement some of those right now and see if I feel better, gosh, maybe I don’t need that drug? Maybe it’s just a simple change. And going back to allergy covers, would you recommend those for pillows and mattresses? And do you have a brand or a type or anything like that? Yeah, I think they can be helpful. I’m always concerned about what’s in them. We want to make sure that there are not some chemicals in them that are going to negatively impact you.

Lisa Beres

gross. That sounds

Stephen Collette

they’re one of the few creatures stupider than humans and there are many but what else

Lisa Beres

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, you know,

Stephen Collette

around me to hope to eat.

Ron Beres

That’s your secret.

Stephen Collette

Yes, this goes over great with teenagers really, really well.

Lisa Beres

Well, I mean, Millennials love it. You know, I did read a study from I think it was Kingston universe. In the UK, and they found that an unmade bed attracts fewer dust mites. Now, what do you say don’t make your bed every day or just air it out a couple of times a week or what do you think is best in that regard?

Stephen Collette

Yeah, well you know, we’re going to have some type-A OCD listeners to the podcast. So you know, you have to let them make the bed what I recommend is making the bed after breakfast or you know, after your morning routine, give it as much time as you can to air it out to get that moisture out. And then once it’s dried up, you know make the bed and put all 27 pillows in the right order on top of it.

Lisa Beres

You are definitely married.

Stephen Collette

This costs you absolutely nothing and so that’s the easiest solution. The next we would look at would be your pillows. And one study years ago the University of Manchester looked at dust mites and pillows of foam base pillows. And after 10 years they were half original material and half dust mite and dust mite feces, which is again super house.

Lisa Beres

Yeah, really nasty.

Stephen Collette

So, switching pillows out periodically definitely washing them. High temperatures. And ultraviolet kills dust mites because those alien creatures as you describe them, they totally look like that. Yeah, they’re UV sensitive. So, if you put them out in the sunshine, you’ll boil the little creatures and they’ll die. So put your pillows out, put your sheets out and you know, drag the mattress out once a year, put it outside, give the neighbors something to talk about. And you’re going to have a healthy bed and you haven’t spent any money.

Ron Beres

heavy I don’t think it’s going to happen first yeah

Lisa Beres

we have an organic mattress and we have one of those organic mattresses with no metal. It takes four large men just to flip it. Needless to say, we haven’t flipped it in a while like people come to your house to do it. But the other thing I love that and you know if you can’t take your mattress outside like you said open those windows with the sunlight hit your mattress. Another thing which I’m sure you recommend and I’ve heard is putting your pillow in the dryer occasionally and high heat will kill those dust mites.

Stephen Collette

To your point, we can get less allergenic pillows. So the dust mites do seem to like the petroleum-based foam pillows so we’d like to avoid those, unfortunately, down or feather pillows can be for some people, not you, and not many people with down-sensitive sensitivities can be healthier, but natural latex-like your mattress and my mattress and natural latex foam not made from petroleum and wool dust mites don’t like those as much right and so we can have healthier materials like natural organic Cotton’s on the sheets. So, we can make some purchases and spend some money. But always do the free stuff first, as far as changing pillows and stuff, if you’re laundering them, if you’re putting them out outside in the sunshine for ultraviolet or high heat in the dryer, yeah, every few years, you should switch them up

Ron Beres

putting in the spot here. But ultraviolet, obviously, there are natural ways to do that what you just mentioned but don’t know if any products out there. And if you don’t, that’s fine. But I know some new innovative things are out there for people who don’t want to lift their 500-pound mattress

Lisa Beres

kind of agree with you good old-fashioned cleaning airing out and vacuuming and get that and just see how much better you feel and sleep. Going back to our you know, we were at a five-star hotel, but oh my god. I mean, how often do they change the pillows? It’s, we don’t want to know, you know?

Ron Beres

Yeah. Steve, did you have pets by chance you have a dog or cat.

Stephen Collette

I do have a black lab. My wife was raised with black labs, and we’ve been married 21 years now. It took 15 to wear me down

Ron Beres

and even take it for me, happy wife, happy life. That’s right. That’s right.

Lisa Beres

That’s good. 21 years.

Stephen Collette

Definitely, you want to keep the pets out of the bedroom.

Lisa Beres

Ah, thank you. People do not like to hear that. I get mad.

Stephen Collette

Well, it’s a real sensitive topic because for many people, the pets are family members and I totally understand that but they are bringing a huge allergen load that dander load

Natural latex you can get natural latex toppers you can get wool toppers for your bed. Both of those are hypoallergenic. So, I would always lean towards more natural solutions but make sure when you’re looking at it for those with severe allergies to dust mites, you want to manage the dust first and then think about those controls after.

Lisa Beres

Yeah, good. Good point. I know there are a lot of plastic covers that are treated with antimicrobial like microbiome and things like that that are just going to off-gas the plastics and off-gas VOC’s and you’re going to be getting like more chemicals. So, the key here is to go natural and not be adding more chemicals into your such a sensitive environment, your sleeping environment place where you need to heal.

Stephen Collette

And so, what’s interesting when we talk about this, these natural solutions, the ultraviolet the sunshine, really Recent research has shown that daylight even through our windows with whatever glazing and coatings we have on them daylight in our homes reduces the bacterial population in the air. So for those, you know, angst-ridden teenagers who may have a lot of dark, you know curtains and not letting the light in, you need to let the light in and that will help improve even the bacterial population exposures in your home.

Lisa Beres

That’s great. Open those windows. What about mold in the bedroom? Do you think that’s a problem?

Stephen Collette

typically, not a huge problem because we don’t have a lot of water in there. Right, We need food water in a warm place. We can get some molds in some older homes who have maybe in the temperate in the colder climates or the damp climates where we get condensation so behind a big dresser or behind the big bed, where there’s no airflow on an exterior wall. The bed acts as insulation, right you may have our 20 in your walls, but the bed acts like our 400 and so we can get the dewpoint condensation to happen on the bedroom wall

Ron Beres

Street, can you kind of go over that again, because you mentioned the numbers right to the listeners who have never heard of our 400 or you know, that sort of

Stephen Collette

thing or so the insulation value of your walls. So just think about your walls as somewhere within it for those in a colder climate. In the wintertime. It’s like a trip to Florida. For me on one side, it’s 28 degrees Celsius, 68 Fahrenheit. On the other side, it’s minus 20 Celsius, which translates into really stupendously cold and Fahrenheit. And so somewhere in there, we get freezing somewhere in there, we get condensation where water turns to liquid and that happens in a wall and that’s okay. But when we put all this insulation inside as like a closet, with all our clothes and an exterior wall or as a bed up against an exterior wall, we could get that, that freezing and that condensation to happen actually where we don’t want it and that could lead to some dampness with the dust. which can lead to mold?

Lisa Beres

Yeah, I am. we’ve encountered several people who had mold problems in their master bedroom closet, or the mold was growing in their shoes. And it’s so bizarre, you know, people but it’s a dark damp space that you know is like, hey, hey, hey, come live in here.

Stephen Collette

So, what happens is the molds are eating the starches and sugars that we sweat, right? So, we’re putting some sugars and stuff in there. But it’s also the leather is very porous, and so there are lots of pockets for the dust to sit in. And the closet gets damp because some people you know, you put your dirty clothes in there and it doesn’t get a lot of air exchange and the doors are closed. And that’s why grandmas used to use mothballs because grandma’s house didn’t have insulation. And the only insulation in grandma’s house was all her clothes in the closet and so it would get damp behind her clothes, so she would use mothballs but I never knew that MOS and loved the moisture on the wall.

Ron Beres

Grammar was so easy Tomorrow Well, okay.

Lisa Beres

Listen to her more she knows.

Ron Beres

So, what you can’t see can hurt you. We’ve talked about some biological contaminants in the bedroom. Yeah. Is there anything from a chemical perspective that’s maybe off-gassing that we should be aware of from common things that are found in our bedroom?

Stephen Collette

Yeah, so a lot of cleaning products. So, the largest exposure from a chemical is your laundry soaps, because that’s a 24-hour exposure. It’s on our clothes, it’s on our sheets. It’s on our pajamas. It’s on everything. And so thinking about some of the hormone disruptors and endocrine disruptors that are unfortunately in some consumer goods, we want to think about using more natural based cleaning soaps, laundry soaps, you know, when we used to like you know, all of us were mostly farmers and working in industrial situations and filthy and dirty. We needed really robust cleaners and those cleaners are in the 21st century, you know, most of us are working in urban environments. We’re not as hard on our clothes as we used to. We did cotton diapers with our kids and we use natural laundry soap. So really

Lisa Beres

survived. You survived to tell the story.

Ron Beres

still smiling. He’s smiling.

Stephen Collette

They’re teenagers now. So, it’s a distant memory.

Lisa Beres

How much like less exposure to now we’re going down a diaper trail here, but, you know, the chlorine bleach and all of the toxins in diapers, let alone the plastic. Yeah, the ridiculous amount of plot What is it, the average baby goes through how many diapers in their lifetime I forget, but and then diapers would take 1000 years to biodegrade like a single number.

Stephen Collette

So really, it’s really tough and we’re grateful that we had the opportunity to be able to do that and I respect that not everyone can so where possible. We all can make choices, little choices to help make a difference for our family’s health and our and Environmental Health at the same time and they are going hand in hand back with the chemicals to Ron’s question. We’re finding some of the more recent research is looking at what’s in the dust. So, we have this sense of dust is just like, wow, it’s dust. A lot is going on in there. And we’re realizing there’s a tremendous amount of chemicals more than anyone thought. And they’re coming from consumer products, they’re coming from the building products as well. And the exposures for the kids is really, really high. Now we get exposed to dust in our bedroom from one major source, and that’s actually under your bed, because how often have you moved that 500-pound mattress to vacuum really well under your bed.

Ron Beres

Hey, Steven, you’re getting personal.

Stephen Collette

But this is super normal. And when we think about bedrooms with carpets, that holds a tremendous amount of dust and the only way it gets stirred underneath that bed is when the cat crawls under there.

Lisa Beres

So, it’s a lot of trouble to get his toy. Yeah, it’s crazy. We have a bed obviously with an open-air which everybody should have an open-air space under it so for the airflow but there’s a lot of people and especially like these IKEA type beds, I mean they are literally on the ground, there’s no space under them for the airflow and the slats like our mattresses on a, you know, every two-inch slat system, which allows the airflow to go through, but you think about how many people are on those flat type, you know, board plywood type boards where they’re just mattress just sits on it and there’s no airflow to come in and around that mattress. And it’s just it creates a breeding ground for all this stuff.

Stephen Collette

For sure the mattress absolutely needs the air. It doesn’t need a box spring. That’s

Lisa Beres

are we going to get rid of those? I mean, what did they do? I don’t feel like they really help

Stephen Collette

there. There was historical precedence as to why they came into being and it was about money, but there’s no real reason for sure.

Ron Beres

Is it a short story Tell us, Steven?

Stephen Collette

it basically there was like some iron people in the steel people and everyone was complaining about this and that and yeah box springs were created as a byproduct of farming and keeping everybody employed

Lisa Beres

how to use all the leftover material maybe, huh?

Stephen Collette

Something like that. Right. So yeah, the wooden slats airing it. Oh, definitely the mattress does need to dry you’re absolutely correct. And then, unfortunately, but it’s under that bed that there’s a lot of dust because we simply can’t access it. And when we have carpets underneath there, even if it’s an area rug, it’s really difficult to clean. So, carpets need to be cleaned effectively. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, recommends we vacuum carpets aggressively and they define this as 10 minutes per square meter or a minute per square foot.

Lisa Beres

Wow, wow. Oh, Canada go Canada, Stephen is from Canada. Okay. In case you didn’t hear that out the out.

Ron Beres

What is that robot springs are from Canada? No.

Lisa Beres

Well, I tell you that I’m not doing that they’re not doing that in America.

Stephen Collette

Nobody’s vacuuming that. That’s insane. And the point is that unfortunately, the carpet holds a lot of dust in really fine, ultra-fine particulate. On a solid surface, we get dust bunnies, and that’s healthier. Because it’s too heavy to become aerosolized. Yeah. So, under the beds where we can’t vacuum very effectively, this creates a huge dust load. And that’s a respiratory irritant for sure.

Lisa Beres

Yeah. Going back to that point about the dust and what’s in it. I do remember that study was George Washington University and the University of San Francisco and one other university and they found the average dust in the average home that they tested had 45 toxic chemicals. One of them was the carcinogen. And it’s, like you said, the plasticizers, the flame retardants, things that people know think are just in their plastic container. They’re not thinking that this that these can be chemicals are becoming airborne and volatile and getting into the dust and it’s so toxic and people that that was the first study they ever did on dust to say gosh, dust isn’t just annoying, it’s toxic, like it’s a no go your anal if you clean a lot, no it’s good for your health to be keeping that dust at bay.

Stephen Collette

So, while we’re thinking about the chemicals, we want to make sure that we’re using more natural-based cleaning products soap and water baking soda vinegar, lemon juice, we don’t need much more than that within our homes. And to keep the bedroom is chemical-free as much as possible. Even candles, things like that, those kinds of chemicals, those scented products that we plug into the outlets, those it’s a lot of chemicals being volatilized petroleum-based ones, so just kind of really scaling back. So candles, you know we pull oil out of the oil sands, you know our wherever they come from, and we put it in the settling tanks and the fuel oil in the bottom and the petroleum, the fuel grade in the middle in the pond scum that floats to the top is paraffin. So brief it off and we pour it into little round molds and then we add more petroleum so it’s blue and green and red and yellow and we add unstable petroleum VOC volatile organic compounds so it smells like you know chocolate mountain blueberry spring April rain fresh and we put a wick in it that sometimes dipped in lead and then we light it right and

Lisa Beres

romantic and it’s

Ron Beres

candlemaker, it seemed like he went through this process before.

Stephen Collette

No, I’m not a candle maker but I do recommend like beeswax you know, which is lovely and has a beautiful smell of honey makes me hungry. They last longer for power outages. And so those are healthy solutions and alternatives that they cost a little more but they last longer. So, from a price point, they’re great.

Lisa Beres

They’re great. I agree the beeswax candles and the synthetic fragrances in the candles are incredibly ridiculous. You know you can use essential oils instead of synthetic fragrances that aren’t going to cause harm that aren’t that are going to smell better. Now, yes, you were right, you are going to pay a little more. But this is your health we’re talking about, you know, either don’t light the candle or light a healthy one or get an unscented one because those scents are so nauseating. And we’ve got so much fragrance sensitivity in the world because like you said the endocrine disruptors that are in these fragrances are pretty prevalent. People are starting to wake up and become aware of that but it’s really funny talking about this bedroom the room that’s like the romance and all this mold and bacteria does petroleum and

Stephen Collette

a funny story about candles so I was doing a healthy house inspection and this lovely couple and it turned out she was a candle distributor I opened this closet door and it was just full of these petroleum candles and like all these chemicals, you’re talking about Lisa, they just hit me. And my eyes start water and I get like brain fog and I turn around and I just like kind of laid into her about the toxicity, right? And then I was like, I’m not going to get paid. No.

He paid me in cash. He was like, that was the best ever.

Lisa Beres

I love it. He was open to being better and learning. Even like, I know that and even if I see a candle at a store, especially women, the first thing we do is we pick it up and we smell it. Oh, how does it smell? How does it smell and we and it’s okay, we want things to smell good? But look for those, you know, 100% scented with essential oil because what marketers will do is, they’ll say, made with essential oils and they’ll put like 2% in there. So, you have to be careful that the labeling because there are no laws with candles, their labeling, and regulations and things like that. So, I love it so and then for laundry What do you recommend? Do you have a do it yourself recipe Do you have a brand or anything that you recommend people look for third party certifications, if you’re willing to eat your cleaning products, that’s a really good baseline to start? Okay.

Stephen Collette

I do laundry in our in our home and I have a variety over the years of different ones we’ve tried and what we like laundry soap is a chemistry with the soap as a surfactant, the water quality, and your washing machine. And those are real variables. So, some natural laundry soaps may not do great with one of those parameters, um, where you are. Seventh Generation, nature’s clean, Ecos, Ecover, you know, we’re using the pink solutions or coconut-based Sally soaps there’s lots of really great stuff out there. Ask your local you know health food store or you know, natural food supplies. And even some of the larger stores carry them but at least you can talk to your local health food store because you’ll be able to talk to a person hey I’m in I’m outside of town I’m on a well or hey I’m in town, what do you think makes the best chemistry and just don’t buy large quantities of it make sure you buy in small quantities to just make sure it does work effectively for you.

Lisa Beres

We just finally upgraded our washer and dryer and we noticed the same thing we always use plant-based laundry detergent. Usually unscented or with a with an essential oil but with the new washer, the high-efficiency washer, it changed the cleaning and we’ve noticed like exactly what you said like we have to change our detergent. It’s not working like it did on the other one. And you know going back to the sheets A lot of people think if they use a natural material say cotton that the sheets are healthy and they don’t think about the pesticide exposure from saying cotton because cotton is a crop and it’s heavily sprayed. So, like give us some materials that you recommend for linens

Stephen Collette

if you can afford organic sheets. That’s awesome. So, I do recommend those just because from cotton, as you said, a lot fewer pesticides, then maybe some bamboos or rayon. Certainly silks. Now there are chemicals used in those processes. They’re different than pesticides. And some people may be sensitive to those for those cold climate people, flannel sheets have fewer chemicals in them than regular cotton just because of how it’s processed. Yeah, so but whatever you buy, wash it first. Because we want to take out the sizing used to be starch, whether it be our shirts or whether it be your sheets, but now formaldehyde is a standard additive to a lot of fabrics. So, you want to wash it first and try to get the chemicals. Oh,

Lisa Beres

yeah, great point and formaldehyde. For anyone who doesn’t know it’s a carcinogen. It was used in the Egyptian embalming to preserve these bodies. So, if you’re sleeping and sheets treated with formaldehyde and it’s touching your largest organ, your skin, I don’t think you want That so great tip to watch

Ron Beres

it’s like the pesticides too That’s why we want to avoid that to Cotton’s a crop. Yeah. Is that going on their skin and absorbing that? Yeah, absolutely.

Lisa Beres

So, we talked about vacuuming. Obviously, if you’re remodeling or moving you want to try to get hard surfaces in your bedroom we have carpet in ours, mostly hard surface but our bedroom it’s just so standard as you know, here especially in building the always put carpet in the master or the bedrooms. What do you recommend for vacuum, anything specific any type?

Stephen Collette

as you said I agree with solid surface over carpet. So basically, the low hanging fruit is vacuum more often right with whatever vacuum you have open the window while you’re doing it because you will stir a lot of dust up; a better vacuum is going to be a HEPA high-efficiency particulate arrestor and that’s going to capture the smallest of the small. So, a HEPA vacuum is a great investment if you have carpets. Now, when you start looking online, you’ll see kind of happiness sort of happening. Almost HIPAA HEPA like put like, through HEPA I’ve seen HEPA like I have a true HIPAA and you can find some inexpensive brands like Dyson, you know, a really common brand. And you can find some high-quality brands like Miele or Bosch. The difference between $150 HIPAA vacuum and $1,000 HIPAA vacuum is $150. One has a bunch of the air go through the HIPAA filter. The thousand dollars one has all the air go through the filter you’re paying for gaskets and seals. And based on your budget and number of carpets, both are excellent. Obviously, the more air filtration the better. But pick what you want and then down the road where possible, sort of the low, medium and high the high would be to pull the carpet out and then maybe put down some cork So a nice warm feeling floor. There’s some cushion to it. You’ve got some beautiful colors, and so you get that warmth and cushion that we wanted a carpet bomb Steel being a solid surface,

Lisa Beres

yeah, corks renewable and you get some sound insulation with the cork so that’s a really good material for your bedroom right now. Like you said with vacuums, I would say the same thing with air purifiers will you get what you pay for running I have tested so many name brands and kind of concluded that you do get what you pay for. But that good air purifier in your bedroom is going to absorb 99.9 depending on what your unit percent of those airborne particles so it’s such a good investment.

Stephen Collette

Yeah, for sure. I think they’re a great idea. We want to manage the source first, and then whatever so we contain control and then we clean we always want to

Lisa Beres

love it contain

Stephen Collette

control then clean right so now for those in a rental situation for those who don’t have controls the capacity to you know, tear out your forced air furnace and air conditioning, or whatever the case may be, you know, we can change the carpets. For whatever reason, air filters are an excellent idea. We want to make sure we got HEPA in there to capture the smallest particles and we want to make sure we have carbon in there to help remove the chemicals and VOCs from the air. Absolutely a great idea. And I agree as much money as you can afford because you’ll benefit from it.

Lisa Beres

Yeah, it’s a gift to yourself, right? It’s a gift to yourself and your family and your health. It really is.

Ron Beres

So, Steven, you’re a building biology Institute educator. And as part of that curriculum, you are an expert on electromagnetic radiation and how it affects us not only in our home but specifically for this podcast in this conversation in the bedroom. Are you able to talk about that? I’m going to put you to the test right there. I know because I’m a building biologist as well. There are principles. There are 25 principles, right. I’m going to read number seven, which you should know by heart every night before bed. Oh, good. Good.

Lisa Beres

See your bedtime principles.

Ron Beres

flagellating doesn’t matter which country. We all read it. We have that role. So, number seven, we have to adopt appropriate strategies to minimize exposure to harmful all electromagnetic radiation generated as a result of building electrification. Yes, so can you tell the listeners what that means and how you do that for your home so we can do the same thing?

Stephen Collette

Yeah, let’s put it down into normal human speak instead of nerd speak. For those who vaguely remember high school physics, we did some electricity. And there was this rule about when there’s presence of electricity in a wire, it generates a field and when there’s a flow, there was another field and there were this left hand and right-hand rule and I remember you know, in high school pointing myself with these little finger guns trying to figure it all out.

Lisa Beres

What that was not in that class. I was in drama.

Stephen Collette

Electricity generates electric fields and magnetic fields. And these fields can impact us because we are bioelectric creatures. We simply don’t operate on 120 volts 120 hertz, pardon me. And so, these exposures can mess up our wiring. And typically, in a new house wiring, the wiring is grounded. So, we have three wires, we have a hot and neutral underground. And basically, the ground captures all those fields, which is awesome when it’s all wired up properly. That’s great. The challenge is once we plug something in that only has two wires, like our lamp, and our clock, and our phone charger, and our DVD player and the TV, etc. These exposures create high fields around our beds and even higher for those who use electric blankets. And so, the solution to pollution is dilution. classic one. That’s not

Ron Beres

it again, that was a good one

Stephen Collette

The solution to pollution is dilution. Now it’s not always the case but it’s close enough for today. So, the more we can reduce our electrical exposures from these fields by having fewer electrical things around our bed, the better health we have. So, getting rid of the electric clock and maybe going to a battery or putting it on the dresser, which means you have to get out of bed to turn it off, which could be helpful. You know, just getting all that electric electronics out of our bedrooms can make a huge impact as you experienced in the hotel right at the beginning of the podcast talking about fueling that vibration and the fields coming off of the wiring right behind your head.

Lisa Beres

And hotels are insane. I mean when you think of every you look behind the bed and the hotels today, it’s like a wiring explosion. I mean, there’s so many wires and cords and lamps and clocks and wipe you know, computer and book And then you have if you’re near an elevator, in our case, which you’ve got these magnetic fields on top of your electric fields, and then you’ve got the Wi-Fi in the hotel, so it’s just I don’t know how anyone sleeps in a hotel. I don’t I’m super sensitive because we have a very, we’ve created a sleep sanctuary. We use a battery alarm clock and all that good stuff. Oh, do you feel like that when you travel? Like, are you extra sensitive? Because you are so healthy at your home? Do you feel extra sensitive to it?

Stephen Collette

Yeah, sometimes it can be and my wife’s been sensitive to mold and chemicals. You know, I had exposures to chemicals. So those are kind of always the first triggers for us. And anything after that is, you know, just adding to the strain for sure.

Lisa Beres

That’s a good point with the hotel rooms, the toxic cleaning products, the poor indoor air, you can’t open the windows in most rooms. And then you’ve got you know, you’re just in a toxic soup. So,

Stephen Collette

so, what’s the electrical, some people may have to wire wiring in their house because it just happens to be old enough. We’re not tearing out the wiring. That’s not You know, a weekend project. But what we can do is step one, minimize the number of things you’ve got in your bedroom, just get rid of all the electrical stuff, you don’t need it you’re trying to sleep. And all those, you know, the blue screens and the screens and all that the blue light keeps us awake anyway, secondly, put everything on a power bar that’s grounded, right, a three-prong power bar and then tie all your cords tight. And that’ll reduce some of those frequencies of the stuff that you have leftover in the bedroom. All right, so that’s the low-frequency stuff, the wiring in the house when we think about the high frequencies, the Wi-Fi, the Bluetooth Smart Phone, all that kind of stuff. turn everything off, including your router, which, you know, there’s people clenching with their ear pods right in right now as they’re listening to this. You know, it couldn’t possibly fathom turning the router off. Now I found a great router. And I have no affiliation with them, but it’s called JRS Eco and came from the Netherlands and This great router it still has Wi-Fi because we are 21st century you know we have everything as much as possible hardwired here. But what this does is it recognizes the logged-in clients as the phone the get all the gadgets, right? That is the do use Wi-Fi. And at nighttime when everything’s off, it shuts the Wi-Fi off. And super cool. And as soon as you turn the phone on, there comes

Lisa Beres

it’s like a demand switch built into the router.

Stephen Collette

That’s exactly it. And you can throttle it so it doesn’t cycle as often so it’s not looking for appliances. And the other thing is you can dial down its intensity so that you can only get Wi-Fi like 10 feet away at most or

Lisa Beres

oh my gosh, that’s great.

Stephen Collette

So, the kids’ bedrooms have poor-quality Wi-Fi

Ron Beres

just an accident. What’s the price point? Steven? I know you’re Canadian. So, if you can speak

Stephen Collette

I think it was around 300 Canadian So probably like 250, or something like that, they had a couple of different price point options at a few different routers. And basically, it’s a regular router off the shelf. But this great guy has created a software that goes into

Lisa Beres

amazing hard wiring is the other routers,

Stephen Collette

wired hardwired, hardwired, so as much as you can, and get the cordless phone out of the bedroom, you don’t need a cordless phone in the bedroom. You don’t. So

Lisa Beres

that was one of the first things run. And I did when we started learning about all of this electromagnetic radiation we run was working next to a cordless phone all day, and we got the RF analyzer or the RF detector and we did a test and we were shocked, like the pulses that it’s just constantly giving off. And that’s like zapping your body. I mean, your cellular communication is just like under so much stress when that is on, next to you all the time.

Ron Beres

So, your immune system, your sleeping patterns, all those things that are important, right, it’s all about making sure that you’re ready and recouped for the next day. So right

Stephen Collette

The lights going to like super hard on your sleep patterns right so just that screen time is messing with you so then we

Lisa Beres

wonder why so many people aren’t sleeping medication, they’re not sleeping and there’s so hopefully you listeners are having some light bulbs go off Ron myself and our guest Stephen Colbert today are all BBC is we’re building biology environmental consultants. And building biology Institute is a nonprofit organization that’s dedicated to the holistic science that you can embrace in their seminars, their courses, Stephen is an instructor. They have certification programs and go to their website to find fact sheets videos to help you design, build, and remediate health-supporting structures that are in harmony with planetary ecology. We love the building biology Institute.

Ron Beres

Absolutely. To find out more and to become a member go to building biology institute.org So once again, building biology in institute.org

Lisa Beres

love it. You know, we’re talking about kids, you have two teenage girls, and I’m sure they’re on their cell phones all the time like most teenagers. So, what would you say about you know, creating their rooms? Are they are your daughter’s pretty good at turning off their phone or putting it on airplane mode? Or what kind of things can kids do to create safer environments or parents do to help their kids?

Stephen Collette

We’re really grateful. We have lovely kids; they must get it all from their mom. I think for the kids, it’s about that education, you know, we have to lead by example. And cell phones, for example, are absolutely an addiction. There’s no arguing that and by taking that time to just you know, decompress to put them down to do stuff like gardening, a lot of people gardening now, to just be family. You know, this time of this pandemic has allowed us and a lot of families driving Just reconnect, right? We’re not rushing around, and we’re talking to each other and doing family things. And I think that’s really helpful. And I think as much as possible, you know, there’s a limit that you know, after eight o’clock or nine o’clock, depending on age, the kids, you know, no more technology, you’re done. You got to wind down your body, you know, not allowed in the bedroom, we have a charging stand in the kitchen. All the phones go there. And that’s where they stay all night, keeping the laptops out, you know, of the bedroom after certain hours. So, yeah, it’s hard and oh, my goodness, and what was me and my friend had, you know, we’re really lucky. We are really lucky because we, we lead by example, you know, it’s five o’clock, the computers go off, and we just tried to, you know, spend that time together and doing other activities. So,

Lisa Beres

maybe they’re influencing their friends too, by seeing right Yeah. Good example,

Stephen Collette

examples. Critical.

Lisa Beres

Yeah. I love how you said education because I think that a lot of Viet teens or millennials or whoever understand why this is so important, I think it’s a no brainer to make better decisions about, you know, reducing your use of your cell phone, putting on an airplane mode, turning it off. You don’t need to be having on 24 hours a day. It’s very emotionally draining to do have that constant. Just attachment to just constant news and reaction and I find a digital detox is good to do whenever you can just take a break from all of that and let your mind like have its own thought process where you and your wife into this when your girls were babies. Did you do special things for their nursery when they were little or did you learn about this after that?

Stephen Collette

Yeah, when our first one was born. The reason we got into this I got into building biology I was building straw bale homes and I thought I knew everything about healthy and green and natural and we were living in renting a center an old century home. 100-year-old home. And it turned out it had mold in it. We were unaware, my wife had severe headaches every day. My daughter had terrible eczema. And she was less than a year and the doctor was talking about antibiotics. And we were like, oh my goodness, like she was a home birth. It wasn’t on our radar. And we went away for 10 days. And they both got better, huh, yeah, right and didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out, you know, it was the house, we came back, my wife got a headache right away. And I realized, you know, I’m building healthy houses and I didn’t even understand it. So that’s when I got into building biology. You know, it helped my family. I’m eternally grateful. And I don’t want anyone to go through we went through and that’s why I’m passionate about creating healthy spaces for kids and families.

Lisa Beres

Yeah, I love that. Thank you for sharing that I building but we feel the same way. I got sick from toxins in a newly remodeled home. And that’s an I found about biology through a You know, like a natural building magazine, you know, reading magazines anymore. Not to date myself but and it changed my life. You know, it changed my life and run and I committed to, you know, dedicate our lives to our business to help other people too. So, and I know babies. There was an ABC segment years ago on Good Morning America and they partnered with the green gardens environmental Institute, and tested a brand-new nursery, and said, hey, let’s see what does the average nursery has today? And they found 300 chemicals, that would be like, Hey, Mom and Dad are going out there buying a crib, painting the room, you know, carpet, whatever, and it’s just average. So, it’s just an average nursery. So, kids are already coming into the world pre polluted. We know their umbilical cord has 287 chemicals already when they’re born the average American now and then you put them in this toxic room. So, all these things that Stephen sharing stairs, so important, even if you’re just taking baby steps, try to do one thing at a time and it would cover a lot to ground, and it can be overwhelming. So, like, try to take one little step today and then the next step in the next step, and pretty soon you’ll have the sleep sanctuary.

Ron Beres

So, Steven, where can we find more information about you and what you’re doing?

Stephen Collette

Yeah, thanks for asking. I really appreciate it. My website is your healthy house.ca. I am in Canada so.ca, your healthy house on there. I’ve got articles I’ve written. There are videos, there are links to all my podcasts, there is a ton of free information. And for sure, you can check out my podcast wherever you get podcasts, and that’s also called your healthy house.

Lisa Beres

And for people in Canada, do you do home inspections in your area?

Stephen Collette

I do billing biology, healthy house inspections. I work all over North America. I’m very grateful. And I can consult remotely as well and there’s all that information�s on my website. Hi, thanks for having me, guys. I’m really grateful.

Lisa Beres

Thank you so much for being here. You gave so many good free tactical tips. I hope you guys are inspired and we love Have you? We cannot wait to see you next week please tune in so we can teach you more information on how to create a healthy home sanctuary. This episode of the healthy home hacks podcast has ended. But be sure to subscribe for more healthy living strategies and tactics to help you create the healthy home you’ve always dreamed up. And don’t forget to rate and review so we can continue to bring you the best content. See you on the next episode.