What is Building Biology?
Building Biology is the study of people and the relationship between their health and the building in which they live and work. Its primary concern is to identify potential sources within our homes and offices which may have an adverse affect on our health.
In addition, through building design and material selection, Building Biologists seek to minimise the negative impact our buildings may have on the planet as a whole.
How can our homes or offices affect our health and wellbeing?
Modern day life and convenience has come at a cost. Unlike food and pharmaceuticals, personal care products, new technology and gadgets, plastics, toys and building materials do not have to prove they will do no harm before they are put on the shelf. They often do not have to list ingredients and any safety warnings are issued in the fine print. With little knowledge of what we are buying we fill our homes up with products, chemicals and materials which could be potentially hazardous to our health. Air fresheners, bleach and other cleaning products, personal care products, wireless technology, gas heating, electric blankets, electric underfloor heating, fluoride, even our household wiring all have the potential to do harm.
How do I know if I am suffering from sick building syndrome?
Sick building syndrome refers to any ailment or combination of ailments that can be directly associated with a particular building. That is, you only feel sick or have symptoms when you are in the building and these symptoms are alleviated once you leave. General symptoms include headaches, lethargy, tiredness and lack of concentration.
If these hazards are so dangerous why are they not banned or regulated by the government?
Unfortunately even science is having a very difficult time in keeping up with our “progress”. “Did you know that it can take up to five years for the European Union to investigate one chemical? When you consider that hundreds of new chemicals for commercial use are released every year, you can get a glimpse of the hopelessness of the situation. Building Biologist believe that if there is some concern from the scientific world in relation to a product, chemical or new technology we must employ a precautionary approach and limit our exposure.
Unfortunately, we cannot rely on our government. Did you know it took 14 years from the first sure evidence that smoking is harmful before any official government recognised that it is? Remember cigarettes smoke is a known carcinogenic; however it is still legal to manufacture, sell, purchase and smoke them.
What is wrong with the current government exposure standards?
Currently our government exposure standards are either; non-existent, outdated, based on insufficient data or simply ignorant of the current state of knowledge.
For example, The Australian Radiation Protection and Safety Agency (ARPANSA), is the government agency responsible for protecting us against the harmful effects of radiation. In conjunction with, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), guidelines have been set in relation to exposure limits to 50Hz Electric and Magnetic Fields. (ARPANSA 2009)
However, these guidelines only focus on levels at which immediate health effects occur and fail to consider the link between low level continual exposure to household Electromagnetic Fields and cancer; or any other potential health effects for that matter. This leaves us with guidelines for magnetic fields in this country 750 times higher than the exposure levels now internationally accepted as being associated with a doubling in the incidence of childhood leukaemia
Then what levels of exposure does Building Biologist recommend?
Building Biologist take all the available scientific research into account and base their recommendation on levels of exposure where there is strong evidence indicating possible health effects may occur. This precautionary approach is why our exposure levels are significantly lower than current Australian standards and guidelines.
What is involved in a Building Biology consultation?
A Building Biologist is trained to identify, measure and recommend solutions to a variety of potential health hazards that may exist in your home or office. Our consultation begins at the first point of contact where your specific needs are identified. It is possible that a few suggestions over the phone may be all you need.
Once it is established that one of our services or a blend of our services are required, a time is set for our consultant to visit you at your home or workplace. We will identify and measure where required all potential health hazards as discussed, explain why we believe there is a need for concern and recommend a variety of solutions to limit your exposure.
If required, a formal written report explaining our finding and recommendations can be provided for an additional cost.
What does a Building Biology Consultation cost?
The cost of our service varies according to the size, complexity of your requirements and location of your premises. As a starting point the average cost for a 3 bedroom home commences at $388. However, as we find very few situations are stock standard please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss you particular requirements.