Is Mold Ruining the Air Quality in Your Home or Office?

Mold Affects Indoor Air Quality

As building biologists, we take mold very seriously. The air quality of a home or office cannot be ideal if there is mold present. Just the other day in an office with PTAC units (the type of AC unit you see in hotel rooms), we asked the maintenance person to remove the cover, and…YIKES! The units had not been cleaned in quite some time and there was quite a bit of mold. Of course no one would see the mold since it was covered, but it was most definitely affecting the office air quality.

No one should have to breathe that kind of mold accumulation. If you have allergies, sinus problems, respiratory illnesses, or headaches, exposure to the mold could make you miserable. Or worse, if you are sensitive to mold, it could be causing major illness.

Why Is It Harmful to Air Quality?

Mold is highly toxic to humans. It releases mycotoxins (chemicals the mold releases to defend its territory) and mold volatile organic compounds/MVOCs (gases released by actively growing mold) so it packs a double whammy. Mold looks awful. But it’s not just sitting there looking bad — it is a living organism that is actively spreading toxins. And you are breathing them.

Where Do We Find Mold Growing?

Mold grows anywhere there is moisture: showers, front-loading washing machines, inside walls, inside HVAC systems, closets, etc. And, as a side note, if you have a pet who has ever urinated on your carpet, there is a high possibility mold is growing underneath the spot where the accident occurred.

OK, I Have Mold. Now What?

Don’t worry — it’s pretty common, but you can (and should!) do a few things to minimize your exposure and your risk.

  • Be sure to keep the moisture low in your home or office. Fix a leak immediately (mold starts growing in 24–48 hours), and clean up excess water.
  • Monitor indoor humidity. It should be between 40% and 60%, anything higher is contributing to mold growth. A properly functioning air conditioning system should be removing humidity so these levels are attained.
  • Clean it up. Safely. As for cleaning up the mold, please do not use bleach. It is highly toxic and spreads mold spores. Use these natural cleaners:
    • Tea tree oil mixed with water in a spray bottle.
    • Food grade hydrogen peroxide mixed with water in a spray bottle (this is our preference but take note — if it gets on your hands it may cause white spots but its harmless and goes away quickly)
    • Borax and water paste. Spread it on and leave overnight; then rinse in the morning.

Vital Spaces wants you to have healthy air quality in both your home and office.

Join Us for a Shaklee Reset

shaklee1On a different note, want to do a little holiday prep to ensure the season is better enjoyed? Join us for a Shaklee Reset November 7–11. A reset will help you jump start weight loss, overcome cravings, and balance & regulate your hormones. It can also realign your true appetite, boost metabolism, enhance digestion, bring radiance to eyes and skin and increases focus, clarity, and energy. Need we say more?

A simple Reset can be done with only Shaklee’s Life Shake and a multi vitamin but if you want to make it a true cleanse, these products are recommended:

Click here to order products by October 30 at and email us at for more information and recipes as well as to be included in the Facebook support group.

Have a Happy Fall!

Are Power Lines Dangerous? The Connection Between Power Lines & Health

Power Lines are Everywhere

Is there a connection between power lines and health?We see them all the time but in a sense, they are invisible to us. The power lines that provide our electricity are everywhere, but do you ever think about them? More importantly, are power lines dangerous to our health? Most of us go through our day expecting lights to work, food to be cold, and the oven to be hot. Is this method of delivering electricity completely safe? Yes — and no. We don’t want to scare you but remember the quote: Knowledge is power (no pun intended!).

Vital Spaces has seen an increase lately in concern with power lines and their health impact, and the concern is valid. We’ve reviewed a number of studies, which show that living near or next to power lines increase the chance of cancer and other health issues. There is a lot of controversy over whether power lines are dangerous. Regardless, power lines create magnetic fields, and magnetic fields have been linked to many health issues from headaches and depression to cancer, particularly childhood leukemia.

Should you be concerned? We think the answer should be yes: a small amount of effort could yield big health benefits.

About Magnetic Fields

Lets do a quick review. What are magnetic fields? Magnetic fields are electromagnetic radiation caused by current. Current is present when appliances are on and running. Magnetic fields are also generated by wiring errors and transformers. The other sources of electromagnetic radiation include electric fields (caused by voltage) and radio frequency (caused by communication signals) such as those emitted from cell phones, WiFi, radio and cellular towers, Bluetooth devices, your Apple TV or Roku, and practically any other wireless device in your home. All electromagnetic radiation is linked to health issues, but in this blog we are most concerned with magnetic fields as they relate to power lines.

Power Lines Generate Magnetic Fields

What happens near power lines? Magnetic fields can be very strong. Fortunately, fields decrease dramatically with distance. Factors that increase a reading include proximity to transformers. Transformers are used to change the voltage on the line, typically stepping it down to enter a home or building.

The distance the lines are apart from one another also make a difference. The closer they are together the more the lines are canceling each other out. There is something called a Hendrix Spacer Cable which decreases the distance between the lines. Buried cables are much better since the spacing is naturally closer. An electrical substation is obviously worse. Additionally, the loads on the lines can be less or more depending on time of day and are highest generally in the evenings when people are home and utilizing electricity most.

Limiting Your Risk

Are there guidelines for limiting exposure to magnetic fields? Not in the United States. The International Association for Building-Biology® and Ecology has a limit of 0.2mG (milligauss) for sleeping areas (your body is 10 – 100 times more susceptible while sleeping and sleep is the time to give your body a rest since it is in healing mode). The World Health Organization says a level of 3 – 4mG is possibly carcinogenic. Sweden has a limit of 3mG and Switzerland sets the limit at 10mG. Vital Spaces typically sees readings of 0.2 – 1.5mG in the average home environment. As a building biologist, we want to see readings of less than 1.

What Can You Do?

  1. We suggest having a building biologist measure magnetic fields in and around your property as well as property you are considering for purchase. Contact Vital Spaces today to schedule this assessment.
  2. You can purchase an inexpensive meter and measure it yourself. Keep in mind that many times we see clients who have done this, but they either feel their meter is not reading properly or they just can’t be sure they are measuring correctly.
  3. Once we learn the level of exposure and risk you are dealing with, Vital Spaces is available to offer common sense solutions. You may be surprised at both the risk you’re dealing with and the practical steps you can do to improve your health.

Bottom Line: Isn’t a quick magnetic field test worth your health and especially the health of your children who are more susceptible than adults? After all, you deserve to live your best life!

Five Minutes to Better Health: Shaklee Healthprint™

Five Minutes: Change Your Life with Shaklee Healthprint™

Five Minutes to Better Health: Shaklee Healthprint™We are so excited about Shaklee’s newest way to improve your health. Invest just five minutes to take the Shaklee Healthprint™ personal health builder assessment with questions about diet and lifestyle habits and bingo: you are provided with your unique results! Sound cool? You bet it is.

Have you ever been to a doctor, nutritionist, or any other health practitioner to figure out how to be healthier? And did you pay some, or maybe even a lot of money for this advice? Or did you just wing it by trying to figure out the supplement mystery? And lifestyle changes — ummmmm, what?! That being said, there’s nothing like getting great advice from a professional. It’s highly recommended. However, being able to take a quick online assessment to get your health journey (started that doesn’t cost a dime): invaluable.

What is Shaklee Healthprint™ and How Does it Work?

Log onto the Shaklee’s Healthprint assessment and answer a few questions. These questions are designed to reveal key dietary and lifestyle habits which impact health. You are provided with diet and lifestyle scores, BMI, information to help you reach your top three health goals, and a customized nutrition plan at a variety of price points to meet any budget. There are options to dig deeper for statistics, research, articles and other information pertaining to your results. Shaklee provides you with a score based on where you are relative to optimal wellness. This is not a one-size-fits-all template; there are more than one million possible outcomes. That’s it! No more confusion! This is the quick and easy way to take charge of your health.

Why do we love Shaklee?

Because they employee top doctors and scientists to research and test every ingredient (hundreds of times) to ensure pure products that are proven to be effective. This 100-year old cutting edge health and wellness company has a very long history of creating quality products that are safe and provide exceptional health benefits.

Would you be interested in joining us for a Shaklee Reset?

The Reset is a very doable five-day detox where we provide you with all the information, recipes, grocery list, tips, and support to jump start health or weight loss. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to join in on the next Reset. You can also contact us online. Resets are offered several times per year.

Upcoming Resets: September 12–16 and September 26–30.

Here’s to you: a long healthy life of quality days. After all, you deserve to live your best life.

Are Your Home Cleaning Chemicals Causing Illness?

Are your home cleaning chemicals causing illness?

Do you think you are doing a good thing by cleaning your home and office with those cleaning products “guaranteed to kill germs”? Think again. And the scent, oh my… we will get to that later.

Trade in toxins for healthier cleaning and laundry productsDid you know most cleaning products can release toxins into the air even when they are simply being stored? Yikes. Imagine what they are doing to the quality of your environment when being used!

Cleaning and laundry products are not only some of the worst offenders to indoor air quality; they can cause irritation to the eyes and throat, headaches, asthma, respiratory illness, and more. And after years of exposure there is often a risk of heart disease and even cancer. What’s more, if you currently suffer from any health ailment, you can be sure exposure to toxic cleaning products is not helping you recover.

So when we are talking about “toxic cleaning products,” what does this include? Well, everything you might imagine plus some highly toxic ones you might not think about: detergent and dishwashing liquid, spot cleaners, furniture and floor polish, and oven cleaners.

And did you know dry cleaning chemicals are dangerous too? If you need to dry clean, remove the plastic wrap and let the item(s) off gas in a ventilated location.

Now for the cleaner everyone loves: Bleach. You don’t need a chemistry degree to know that bleach is highly toxic. The irritation in your eyes and nose is usually proof enough.

Need we say more? Yes actually, dryer sheets are one of the worst offenders. They contain numerous chemicals, even a couple on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste List. (Source:

Back to fragrance. Generally speaking, if you can smell it, it’s probably toxic. Sadly, there is little to no FDA regulation concerning the ingredients covered under the umbrella term “fragrance” on the label. And might we say, yes, this does include perfumes, body lotions, cosmetics and more.

So What Do We Do?

You can make your own cleaners from natural, healthy ingredients. If you want to do your own thing, believe it or not, old-fashioned soap cleans really well! Vinegar is another great cleaner. You can also use borax, tea tree oil, and a personal favorite (especially for mold) is hydrogen peroxide. Here are two home-made cleaner recipes to get you started:

DIY Laundry Cleaner

DIY Laundry Cleaner Recipe

DIY Cleaner / Disinfectant

DIY Cleaner/Disinfectant Recipe

Healthy Cleaning and Laundry Products Offer Alternatives to Toxin-Laden Options

If you don’t want to make your own, the Shaklee Healthy Home Products are what I would recommend. They are so concentrated that a bottle will cost you as little as 2 cents per bottle, and one quart of their Basic G® Germicide will make over 500 bottles of antibacterial cleaner similar to Lysol® and Clorox®. And their Basic H2® will make an all-purpose cleaner, a window cleaner, and a degreaser.

Building Biology for Babies and Children

The three tenets of building biology include clean air, clean water, and minimal electromagnetic radiation. Lets explore how each of those should be applied to our precious offspring.

Should you be concerned about building biology for babies and children?

building-biology-babies-childrenYou bet you should be concerned. At approximately 40,000+ breaths per day, your baby takes more than twice as many breaths as you do. Could this increased respiration be associated with health problems in an unhealthy structure? Absolutely. Read on to find out what you can do to protect your children.

Everyone knows about the danger of lead, but do you ever think about the other toxic chemicals in your home? Formaldehyde, used to preserve dead bodies, is in everything from cosmetics to wood products such as furniture and cabinets. Some of the most off-gassing products in a home include adhesives, caulks, and sealants. Be very careful about these. There are excellent alternatives for these products as well as paints and wood finishing products.

Healthy Options for Flooring

That leads us to flooring. It’s great to use environmentally friendly products like bamboo (ask for a variety with no added urea formaldehyde) as long as you don’t stain it with an unsafe product. Cork is a great option as is all-natural linoleum (linoleum is an all natural product made from linseed oil but confused with vinyl products made with petrochemicals). Wall-to-wall carpet is not recommended under any circumstances. That new carpet smell that most people equate with “new” is like chemical warfare (okay, not quite but almost!). Carpeting is treated with more chemicals than we could list such as formaldehyde (oh yea, we mentioned that didn’t we?), fire retardants, and toluene.

Carpet and padding also create a breeding ground for bacteria and mold, and they are quite efficient at holding in things like pesticides and any other toxins emitted in your home. Even natural wool or silk carpets are often treated with chemicals. And any toxin that gets under the carpet cannot be vacuumed up; you have to remove the entire carpet to get rid of it all. Needless to say, carpet definitely lowers your air quality.

Does it really matter what kind of crib you get? Yep.

Solid wood (versus treated wood products such as particle board) is best for the crib and other furniture. Cribs made of solid wood are constructed of natural wood through and through, and cribs made with laminate wood or particle board include adhesives to hold the layers or particles together. Also, when you’re selecting bedding, opt for natural fabrics and upholstery. Fabrics that come in contact with your baby are very important, such as diapers. It’s best to use all-natural cotton, untreated with harsh chemicals like most synthetics.

Lets talk about electromagnetic radiation.

Babies and children are more susceptible to electromagnetic radiation, so take note. Radio frequency (RF) is in the same range as a microwave oven, and a baby monitor emits harmful RF. Keep your cell phone away from your baby. Here are some products to help you do just that. And by all means keep your baby away from WiFi routers and wireless items such as printers and remote controls. The other areas of electromagnetic radiation include electric fields and magnetic fields. Electric fields can be reduced by shutting off the circuit to the room at the breaker box. Be sure to unplug all electrical items around the crib such as night lights and lamps.

What else can you do to protect your babies and children?

Individual and whole-house air filtration is recommended. And water? Vital Spaces discussed the danger of unfiltered tap water last month. Don’t you owe it to yourself and your family to ensure a clean environment with clean air and clean water? Well, only if you want yourself and your family to live the best possible life. We think a healthy family and quality days are pretty important.

Call us for more information on air purification and electromagnetic radiation reduction.

Vital Spaces offers:

  • Healthy home and building consulting
  • Air and water purification and
  • Healthy life products.

Non-Toxic Skincare that Works Wonders…Are You Ready?!

non-toxic-skin-careNon-toxic skincare is something I’m passionate about. But it wasn’t always the case! I’d love to tell you more, but first, a confession:

I was addicted to products.

I’m talking about skin care products here. And anti-aging products. I was addicted to those kind of things — I admit it. That’s the first step right?

Angela Vital SpacesI used to be the person who felt I needed to add the newest best thing to my routine every time a “revolutionary” skin care product showed up on the market. And the products added up. I wasn’t worried about non-toxic skincare; I just wanted whatever promised results. My cabinet overflowed. That was bad enough…but the worst part? Trying to wash my face enough times each day to fit them all in or having the time to use them in one washing. Whew! Calgon® take me away! And on top of all that my increasing knowledge of toxins was causing stress. A building biologist + health fanatic knows just how dangerous toxins they can be when applied to our largest organ: the skin.

Calgon® didn’t take me away but Ever did.

Ahhhhhh. Not only does Ever offer a line of non-toxic skin care; it actually works. Unbelievably well. All the other chemical products did not fade my melasma. But Ever did … success! I just cannot quit being excited about this amazing new non-toxic skin care line.

So just how does this work? Let me tell you!

Cellular inflammation is one of the major causes of aging, and it comes from exposure to UVA/UVB rays, dehydration, diets filled with refined sugar and white flour, and lack of sleep. However, a solution was discovered in a potent botanical with immense health benefits dating back to 100 A.D. – Magnolia Officinalis. Using this key ingredient, the Ever science team developed a patent-pending, bioactive complex of three molecules scientifically formulated to reduce the top 10 visible signs of aging. It’s called LSR10™. And just what does this do? It reduces the top 10 visible signs of aging:

  • Lines and wrinkles
  • Loss of elasticity and firmness
  • Spots and pigmentation
  • Redness
  • Loss of radiance
  • Uneven texture and roughness
  • Uneven skin tone
  • Dull skin tone
  • Dehydration
  • Thin skin

Honestly, most of us would probably risk it with any number of toxic products if we knew they would combat those signs of aging. But I’m oh-so-grateful that we don’t have to, thanks to Ever!

How do you get this fabulous new non-toxic skin care?

If you already have a handle on your skincare routine and you want to swap out what you’re using for Ever, just visit our store and get what you need.

Not sure where to start? Call us at 864.980.3341 to get your questions answered. We recommend getting the regimen + eye cream. It’s easy, non toxic, and it really works. Worrying about skin care products is now over. This could be a love affair. <3