The science and art of creating a ​healthy home and work environment – Cheryl Mead

Cheryl Mead, building biologist, joined us 24th September 2020 to discuss the science and art of creating a ​healthy home and work environment. In her live interview with Molly Knight she covered:

  • mould/biotoxins in water-damaged buildings, including the biological effects of living or working in a water-damaged building 
  • how to identify if your home or work place is making you sick



Cheryl is a qualified Building Biologist, Environmental Health Consultant and Electromagnetic Frequency and Radiation (EMF/EMR) Specialist with a passion for sustainable design, health and wellness and ethical business. After many years working in the building industry,​ Cheryl made it her mission to understand why we haven’t reduced the incidence of cancer and why more businesses fail than succeed. After spending bucket loads on business training, and investigating the cause of illness she ventured into the world of environmental science at the Australian College of Environmental Studies.

Click on the image below to watch the full interview:


The full transcript follows – E&OE :


Molly Knight 0:00
Good evening, everyone. Welcome to Health Australia Party Thursday night, little chit chats. Tonight, we’re talking with Cheryl Mead. And Cheryl is a building biologist. She’s a mother and a grandmother. And she studied building biology at the College of environmental studies in Melbourne. And she has an awful lot to tell us so much that we’re going to have to put it into two talks. So tonight, we’re going to talk about building biology and the science and history behind it. And next Tuesday night, please join us because we’re going to be talking about pregnancy, the fetus, babies, children, and the effects of molds, and environmental toxins, and that will move into electromagnetic frequencies and so on everything that will affect the body, particularly molds. And tonight, we’re talking about building biology, what it is what it means, and how do you know if you’re actually living in a toxic home, because you can’t always see the molds. And a lot of people don’t smell these things. So Cheryl, welcome. Thank you so much for joining us tonight.

Cheryl Mead 1:22
Thank you, it’s great to be here. I’m really enjoying the conversation that we’ve had, but also to let people know a little bit more about doing biology and why it’s actually very special. And I actually believe it’s going to be even more beneficial for the future. Because we will, we will need to make some changes in the way we live if we want to live healthier for long.

Molly Knight 1:51
Yes, I agree. And I think I was thinking about building biology. And to me, it’s a new science, because certainly growing up, I’d never heard of it. And even into my 30s and 40s and 50s. It was something that wasn’t on the radar. So it’s interesting that it’s such an important issue now. Maybe it’s because we’re becoming more aware of molds and how the environment is affecting people’s health. Yeah,

Cheryl Mead 2:19
so mold is just one subject that that we study, because it is it’s a fairly big subject, actually, because mold these days, people might not be aware of it. But there was a Dr. Tim Moore from Tasmania did a scoping study on moisture in buildings. And in Tasmania, for instance, where he, he studied, which was from the university there, they discovered that, that 40% of new builds within six to seven years were water damage causing mold. And it’s to do with the way that they build houses these days, which they wrap them up in to be airtight and use a lot of plastics, which is really what petrochemical paints are, and they sweet, so they actually cause water within the building envelope. And that water turns into, or moisture condensates turns into moisture inside the building and causing mold. And it turns out that 30% of buildings throughout Australia are water damaged in some way. So it’s a it’s a really big subject. And then when you tie into that the fact that 24% of the people or the population do not produce antibodies to mold, which means their immune system doesn’t fight off the toxin. And they get really sick when they’re exposed to a water damage building. So

Molly Knight 3:54
that’s huge. That’s a quarter of the population.

Cheryl Mead 3:57
Yes, potentially. But if they’re exposed to it for anything, or if a building, for instance, is exposed to moisture for 48 hours or more. It’s enough for mold to grow. And so there’s lots of reasons we’ll touch on those later. But that’s just one of the subjects that we study in doing biology. And it’s originated in, in Germany, back in the 70s. And that was after the homes that they constructed were built really rapidly due to the increase in population and building materials changed. So what happened was people were becoming sick, and they didn’t know why. And it was discovered that the buildings were actually making them sick. And that’s where sick building syndrome came. So the history of boom biology from that point in time then spread around the world. And so there are a lot of other institutions like in America that that teach it That’s actually where Nicole the head of the college here in Melbourne. That’s where she studied. And she brought it to Australia. And the Australian College of environmental studies, is a registered training organisation. And it’s the only education facility that actually teaches building biology. I’m also a member of the Australasian society of Building Biologists, which is graduates from the College, we actually do spend a bit of time educating the public about what we do. So I’ve been a member there since 2016. And that’s also one way that you can actually find a little bit more about biology if you want to go searching.

Molly Knight 5:46
Hmm, is certainly an interesting field. So mold is one part what what are the other areas or water damaged buildings? Yeah, yes.

Cheryl Mead 5:56
So we actually do, we do study air pollution, water pollution, electronic or electricity, and electro biology. Now, electro biology, once you study electricity, which is obviously everything to do with the wiring in the house of appliances, and radiofrequency radiation or wireless technology, you then we then study the effects of that on the body on the body, which is what God, which is what electro biology is. There are some other electives, which is we study building materials, but I’ve studied building design, as well as geology, which is earth energy. And there’s a few other things we do is study children’s health. And there’s another subject, which is really relevant, which is research methods, which means that when we look at everything we do, it’s all backed up by science, that science base. But we we research, the research to make sure that it’s not industry funded. And what that means is that industry funded research will be biased toward the industry. We always we focus on health. So we always look for the research that will back up the health effects. And and what the influences for us radio frequencies. There’s a lot of research that says that there’s no effect on the body, which is from will use like wireless technology. by natural factor is, and people will say that there’s no evidence, but there actually is this battle modes of evidence. initiative report is a good example of that, which was provided in 2012. Available online, but it’s Yeah.

Molly Knight 7:47
Well, people don’t know to look for this information. Do they know That’s right.

Cheryl Mead 7:53
So the subject, actually, it from, from its original reason for Bain was to be able to design and build environmentally friendly, so non toxic homes that were also ecologically friendly. So a low environmental footprint. So we use products that have low embodied energy, which means that the energy that goes into the product is is better for our environment. We also look at more steady passive design, so the orientation of the home as well as all the components that go in the home. So when you’re looking at materials, you’re looking at them for a whole heap of reasons why they good for you, or good for the environment, and longevity so that they can be recycled, that type of thing. So that’s a really, very extensive area of study and research. Hmm. So then, if you have the the there is a handout or information available for people that are interested, I put together so then that that shows you that we actually follow 25 guiding principles which relate to the built environment. And they’re the things that we focus on. And it starts with design that it’s really based on fresh air is this obviously recycled air and to reduce as many allergens and toxins, including mold. The bite that we build is that we actually know how to actually build to ensure that the home isn’t affected by moisture, which is pretty high.

Molly Knight 9:45
Yeah, that’s very important. So you’re talking about doing a build from scratch. Like it’s starting to build a house? Yeah, okay.

Cheryl Mead 9:53
Yeah. But you can actually do things with existing home to make it better. If we bought on has Water Damage or moisture penetration from home habit reasons, then there will be some things that we suggest they do to eliminate moisture within the home. Some of it can be just habits like creating better habits, some of it is better appliances or equipment that will actually reduce moisture in the air. Because we take humidity readings, which pretty much give us an indication of how much moisture is held in the air, or the reading is actually also given for specific humidity rating. Because the hotter the air, the moment the air, the more moisture it holds. So cold rooms, for instance, whites support moisture in the air and so moisture settles at dew point it creates condensation on the walls of windows or surfaces. And that’s where a lot of the moisture will come from, especially in Tasmania, where it’s cold, but you can have an effect on the actual building itself. The thing that’s probably really interesting about it is that the products will actually also absorb and release moisture. So timber for example. That’s why they use cedar in spots, because the timber is when the humidity increases, the timber absorbs the moisture and then when it’s not humidity, it releases it. So you can actually create a home, that’s hard to scrubbing. That’s the term used for the materials that absorb and release moisture. But if you have all your walls painted in, in polyurethane, which is a plastic, it doesn’t allow that. So timber is the preferred material, that knowledge is stored on all that work for that reason. It’s also the lowest has the lowest environmental footprint, and it’s recyclable. and sustainable. It’s it’s brilliant.

Molly Knight 12:02
It’s a good choice, it would be fair to say I guess, as I drive through the the new suburbs that we’re living in, and there’s mushrooms of houses popping up everywhere, it’d be pretty fair to say that none of these would be built within many of these features in my door, is there a standard that builders must adhere to in terms of moisture protection in homes now, if there’s 40% of buildings that are affected by water?

Cheryl Mead 12:32
Well, if it follows the heat the building code, you should be able to build a healthy home and there are some simple bills out there to do to do a good job. So not all builders are bad. But a lot of the building is is cost happy, but LastPass wins. Let’s see. And so people will remove some things to make it cheaper, or they will just use cheapest products. Or a good example is if you’re going to put a ventilation system in above your rangehood or in your bathroom. You know when you turn your your share on you’re going to create moisture, a lot of the ducting will just go straight into the roof cavity and not outside. So it’s just a really good idea to actually put the ductwork outside, in this fader underneath, underneath it so that the moisture gets transferred outside not into the roof space because that causes condensation. And and then if you’re if you’re actually looking at some of the other things in like just making sure that you’ve got really good cross flow ventilation to air it out because that makes makes the house is braids really better. So there’s lots of there’s lots of things I mean, we we have a whole list of things that we we study in relation to producing a healthy home. I mean, they’re just some of them.

Molly Knight 13:59
It’s very interesting, isn’t it? Things have done I certainly wouldn’t necessarily think about in the home. So if you have an existing home and your shower fan in the shower, I’m sure that probably just goes straight into the roof. So is there a way that can be fixed so that you can duct it out?

Cheryl Mead 14:19
Yeah, I do. It’s really all you need to do is extend that that word out to the into the building and then outside. You can you can actually put Rufus in. But I’m a great believer in the less penetrations in the roof, the better they are all sources of moisture, should they fail. So decking out underneath us is the preferred option and having eaves is even more important because that keeps him wearing a hat, just the water off the building. So they’re just and that’s a design thing. You know, you design your house really well. The other thing If you haven’t got the ability to do that, you can actually install dehumidifiers. So dehumidifiers will take the moisture out of the air. And often they’re set at a certain rate. So what do you mean when we work on 45 to 55 for relative humidity, so that’s moisture in the air, it can be a little bit above that. You don’t want to be too low. Because if you take too much moisture out of the air, you end up taking moisture out of your body. So it’ll suck if you leave them going in. So long term it suck the moisture out of you. Yes, and they’ll actually take the moisture out of everything, like furnishings and things so that normally, timber has a certain moisture content, it’s only when it gets too much moisture that you get mold. And there are some things in relation to which we’ll get onto when we talk about Mom, where there’s a certain natural environment that is beneficial. And that’s what we aim for. That’s what the ology standards are based on.

Molly Knight 16:07
Okay. Okay. And what about I mean, obviously, in winter, there’s a lot more condensation on the windows, isn’t it? And that could be obviously a bit of a problem, because it’s moisture in the house inside the house.

Cheryl Mead 16:20
Yeah. Well, we are actually moisture. So when we breathe, we emit moisture. So the more people in the house, the more moisture. And that’s the whole reason, everything is because you’re sharing your washing law, you’re cooking. So there’s lots of ways that you build up moisture inside a home, and you feel not airing it out by typing the windows up, and you have no way of getting the moisture out. If your ducting isn’t working properly, then that can be a source of potential moisture causing mold. Because when there’s motion, there’s mold.

Molly Knight 16:58
Okay, so even if you’re not seeing deposits of mold growing, it’s still a, it could be there. Could be Yeah,


Cheryl Mead 17:08
Okay. So one of the things that people don’t recognize from pitch, you might not say it, when when showers are built there, they have what’s called a waterproof membrane, the, the membrane actually stops the water from penetrating the wall. And so you put a waterproof membrane in a building. And when, when you put tiles on top of that, you actually put down what’s called wet area board. And that’s. So that’s where all bathrooms, that’s building code standard, but it is a, this is a book produced by the Master Builders in New South Wales. Yeah. So that’s actually got some new Yeah, actually good information in it, to make sure that builders or the people that do the wide area waterproofing do a really good job. Because that’s they’re known to fail. So what happens is that as soon as you get a breach or a break in that waterproof membrane, moisture gets into the walls, and that’s often in older buildings, where you’ll get mold from, and you won’t necessarily say it, but it will be sick behind the wall, or it could be underneath the floor. I’ve seen lots of places where the bathrooms actually have water coming out of the shower basis and then running into the often the master bedroom and the carpets get with and that’s where you will get mold. So there’s some of the examples of moisture in a house. If you if you do get moisture in the house are there is people there are people qualified to actually do remediation work, or the standards to a to follow. And they’re from based out of America, because we don’t have standards here in Australia, but but in the US, they have pretty much standards for everything. And the standards actually come in a book. So the iicrc actually accredited, accredited people worldwide to be able to do remediation. So this is just a really good thing to know about. And because a lot of people want to actually get rid of the problem, so molds a little bit like asbestos, it’s extremely small, sort of microscopic, in size. So when you are dealing with mold in a building, it’s not always obvious to you. But I’ll just explain this before I go on to any other stuff when when you have mold in say a bathroom. You might see it live in a mold on the surface which you can come in But it’s what’s behind the wall or underneath the floor, that causes the real problem. And they it’s a term mold is actually a family. So it grows, the family grows. And it’s like that it’s a living thing. And that happened the hi fi, which is the spores they break off and they infiltrate the air that’s small that you can’t see them. They’re been fed between three to four micron. And so micron is a millionth of a meter. You can fit something like 100 mold spores on the pinhead.

Molly Knight 20:37
Gosh, yeah.

Cheryl Mead 20:39
Yeah. So you can detect them in a house, if you actually seem to have this black stuff sitting on your windowsills, or around the edges of your exhaust fan, or places where you don’t get to claim them. It’s often multiples.

Molly Knight 20:57
Okay, so you think it’s dust, but it could be?

Cheryl Mead 21:00
Oh, well, dust. And if you’ve got dust on surfaces, and then you have moisture on it, the mold will grow on the dust. So mold only grows on fibrous material. But if you’ve got a concrete with dust on it, it’ll grow on the mold on concrete, not on not actually on the concrete, it won’t grow in class, they will grow on the dust that accumulates at the bottom of the glass. And so it like mold pretty much grows on any anything that’s fibrous as long as the loss

Molly Knight 21:32
and moisture model grow. Okay, I’m sure we’ve had a question from Helena. She says if there was mold in a wall cavity, and the natural mold killer was sprayed inside the cavity. And the cutouts of gyprock were put back sealed. But now almost two years later, water damage is evident again, on swelling skirting boards and door surrounds. Do you think the mold can seep through?

Cheryl Mead 22:03
Yes, we know it does. So this, the first thing that you’ve got to really get your head around is that mouth actually isn’t the problem. moisture is. So you can’t really kill mold because viable spores are non viable is still toxic. So viable means that they’re living as in growing on the hi fi from the bank, and non-viable, which did sports but that’s still toxic. So once they grow, they do pretty much transfer in the air, especially if you’ve got any air circulation, like air conditioners going. So they can be distributed around the house, and you bring them in. So that’s where we basically have come in contact with them out of the center inside a building, if you can see this moisture, you know, there’s mold, this absolutely, I can guarantee you that when there’s moisture this mold this mold, you have to deal with the moisture problem. Okay, and then you deal with the mold. So the mold needs to be removed, it can’t be sprayed.

Molly Knight 23:09
So how how do you do that?

Cheryl Mead 23:13
Well, if it’s inside the wall, then generally going to replace the wall and claim up what it is wet and get rid of the moisture, what depends on the moisture comes from if it’s stone damage, and it’s a one off thing. That’s that’s sort of easier than if it’s a structural building problem. In other words, that the you don’t have enough gaffers for the heavy rain events have you might have broken water pipe somewhere that underneath the home or seeping into the underneath the home and you’ll get more growing underneath the if it’s a not a slab but a a pair of bank construction with tin floors. Look at mold growing and perform and it will penetrate the home.

Molly Knight 24:03
Okay, so yeah, I guess well, what? Yeah, a band aid solution doesn’t work. It’s not No. Those nice chemicals that you can buy to spray, not much use.

Cheryl Mead 24:19
You can play mode off on the surface and just wipe it down with with a non toxic detergent like anything that’s not another chemical because that that as a as another toxin to your environment. But you actually have to get rid of it. Like you have to wipe it clean or brush it plain. That’s what the malgor maybe I just do they actually created a tight compartment. If it’s in one room, they don’t distribute it to the rest of the house and then they take all the damaged materials out and they clean it up. And that’s how you make good bicycle.

Molly Knight 24:56
Huh? Okay, okay. Yeah All right, so hang on. Sure. Helen is just saying the water damage is in between the wall between the shower and the toilet. So that’s an internal wall, isn’t it between the shower and the toilet? So they still have to address it the same way, wouldn’t they?

Cheryl Mead 25:18
Yes, Rebecca could very well be the waterproof membranes have failed on the actual that. So this, what it doesn’t actually just cause mold it actually causes structural damage. So, mold is like a decomposer. So when you get an entire structure or plaster board or any building material, I mean, concrete probably isn’t so much an issue that it will actually gradually decompose and deconstruct the building. So it’s, it reduces the structural integrity. So you have to get to the source of it. If it is the you can do testing obviously for for moisture, depending on what you think it is, if there hasn’t been a flooding event or a rain event or a broken water pipe, it could be that the the waterproof membranes on the shower, I have failed. And it’s it’s penetrating through the grout lines into the wall or through the shower, in some way and affecting the internal cavity. So the and that really means probably a bathroom renovation.

Molly Knight 26:31
Hmm. Starting to sound expensive, isn’t it?

Cheryl Mead 26:34
It can be

Molly Knight 26:39
Hmm. So if you’ve got so if you’ve got water damage, you’ve got mold, that’s you’re peddling gloves, so to speak. Yeah, for a length of time.

Cheryl Mead 26:49
So in other words, if you have water damage, you may clean it up within 48 hours. Now you won’t you won’t have a problem. Because anyone wants to sit for a length of time that Rice was allowed to grow and multiples are everywhere. They’re pretty much indoors outdoors. They’re everywhere. They just exists. It’s It’s It’s they’re designed actually to decompose things so that everything goes back to the earth. So they’re not outdoors. They’re not a problem.

Molly Knight 27:21
Exactly. We, we need them, we need to have models. Yeah. So I’m just going back to Helen has problem, would it? Could you do a bit of Band Aid treatment, say you don’t have the money to rip out the wall and do all that? Would you be able to put a dehumidifier in there? Would that be of assistance or not really?

Cheryl Mead 27:45
Yes, but really, you’re going to find out what the source of the water is first. So and you really can’t do that without some sort of assessment. And what we do was we actually do what’s called moisture mapping. So we have equipment, which actually will detect moisture in materials, or substrate, you know, like floors, you can actually test concrete, if it’s, if it has water penetration through it. on concrete, you get what’s called efflorescence, which is sort of like salty scaling, or brickwork. And that’s a sign that you’ve got more than once, you can also come up from the ground like what’s called waiting. So it can be set up through a building or building structure. Because the water in the ground is too high. There’s too much water in a wall. If it’s a bathroom in there’s been no other broken pot. If for instance, it’s not running somewhere else outside, then the actual water from the shower is what’s causing it. And that’s what’s pretty much penetrating the wall. The waterproofing Brian has filed and it’s it’s causing water to get through into the other side. If you haven’t, Mm hmm. Okay, okay. You can test that with with moisture meters.

Molly Knight 29:08
Yeah, okay. You can you buy moisture meters, or would you get a building biology dance,

Cheryl Mead 29:16
it would be best to get someone professionally introduced. Because Because you don’t just look at that one area, there wasn’t a whole heap of things you can do that essentially will surface anything which bio types you actually collect the air and it goes through a bio pump which actually captures the what’s in the air and puts it onto a little disc and then you send that off for analysis. And that will if you’re not sure if you’ve got mold problems that will identify whether you have mold or not. Okay, that will tell you also what gender it is if it’s how toxic it is and if it’s and and the amount of it. So the way we do it. Everything is done. through a process, but that’s, that’s what you would do if you wanted to know, if you couldn’t see mold, and you want to have to have it, that’s what you do.

Molly Knight 30:08
Right? Okay. And is I mean, there’s black mold, green mold, pink mold, which which molds are the worst? For humans,

Cheryl Mead 30:18
there are some very specific mode set. When you when you get into doing the testing or mold sampling on the handout that I gave you actually gives you a list of some of them. So aspergillus second boisterous check, no, that’s, that’s toxic like mode. Yes, there’s lots of different modes, actually, heaps paid off little bit much more, more toxic to humans or even animals than others. But you might know what they are to do, simply to take some sort of air or some sample you won’t know what they are.

Molly Knight 31:10
So what would be the the biological effects of living in these water damaged homes or I think working in an environment because you know, you’re in an in a work environment for you know, eight or nine hours a day, so that if you’ve got a water damage building, that must just be equally as bad.

Cheryl Mead 31:35
Yeah, so the thing, the thing about once you actually if you if you’re susceptible to mold, in other words, if you don’t produce any bodies, it will have like a bioaccumulation on the body. So the more you breathe in the city you get, for people who actually do produce antibodies, their bodies will fight it off. So they may actually have exposure to the time, they may have lots of cold and flu symptoms, like congestion, sinus problems, and that sort of thing. But, but they will code so they will be able to get over it. If you’ve got, if you’ve got a lot of mold problems, it could be causing lots of other things. And I’ll just run through the list because, and there’s more than that, but most people won’t realize the effect that long will have on them, and could be classified as having chronic fatigue or, or, or other problems which because then it’s not identified. So it causes like body aches and pains. It actually, if you wake up in the morning, stiff all the time, it can be from mold, causes light sensitivity and blurred vision. A cough or shortness of breath, abdominal pain can cause diarrhea, causes memory and, and learning disability or it’s hard to pay to retain things. Or you can have confusion or think or brain fog where you just can’t remember what you did. And causes like disorientation or poor concentration. And mood swings can cause anger, numbness and tingling, muscle tremors, or skin conditions. So when you actually have exposure to mold, if you’re affected by it, other exposures will be will increase it for instance, if you if you have a lot of wireless devices or electromagnetic radiation, which is read frequencies, they will actually make the, the conditions worse, and sometimes by up to 800%. worse. So what what often happens is when we do an assessment, for instance, we go into someone home, someone’s home, often because they’ve seen a doctor or a integrated GP or a naturopath and they’ve said look, get your home checked out. Because we can’t we have one of these find out for something in the homemade music. It can be mild, but it can be negative, or it could be chemicals. So they all have the same or similar effects on the body. So EMF for instance, is symptoms from exposure to electromagnetic frequencies. And they can have very similar fixed effects to mold. So I’ve actually done some home assessments with them. I thought they had mold, but an ended up being that they were just looking really close to a telephone transmission town.

Molly Knight 34:47
Oh, gosh. Okay.

Cheryl Mead 34:48
Yeah. And so, this, the symptoms for electrical sensitivity are very similar. So you could actually be confused, thinking it’s mould, but it’s actually I’m

Molly Knight 35:01

Cheryl Mead 35:02
Yeah. So that’s, that’s one of the things that we have to look for, is to identify, we look at everything, we don’t just look things in isolation.

Molly Knight 35:11
Hmm. Yeah. I was gonna say would it be fair to say that a lot of people who have all these multiple symptoms, get diagnosed as you know psychosomatic problems or diagnosed with auto immune illnesses?

Cheryl Mead 35:29
Absolutely. It is really common, or when you can’t find a solution, you can’t get better is that we, they told that we afforded on yourself, which is actually not true. By offering those that and in along with that goes, mental illness, you know, like depression or anxiety. And, and then the person doesn’t feel that there any, any solution to it? And there’s a there’s a really good was quite a few actually papers, scientific research that actually shows that people who do not get recovery can actually end up being severely disabled, physically and mentally unable to suicide because of,

Molly Knight 36:17
hmm, gee, yeah, and we certainly have quite a rise in suicides, a lot to do with, you know, the COVID thing I believe, and that may not be correct. So possible, but I think if, if we looked a bit deeper at people’s environments, and perhaps we would have a little less mental and emotional illnesses.

Cheryl Mead 36:44
Well, that the thing that I’ve noticed is always and I’m gonna say, especially for me, because I had no idea of the environmental factors that were actually I suppose affected me. So I, I’m actually chemically sensitive, have always been sensitive. But it was only when I moved into the city that I actually, and it was if it hadn’t studied, wouldn’t it I would have thought it was just old age. But I’m actually electrically sensitive.

And I became even more so to the extent that I’m now hypersensitive, so I had to move. But I likened it to rapid aging. So rapid aging on the body, where you have inflammation, you have joint pain, you have inability, you lose everything from flexibility to, to you don’t sleep oil to everything from hot flashes to palpitations to an extreme case of I think it was probably a panic attack brought on by EMF, but it felt like it was habitat. And that that’s enough to actually make me realize I had to move. But yeah, so I can relate to people now when they they have problems that I’m sorry, it’s a it to me it’s a loss. And if I hadn’t been ology I would not have known what was wrong.

Molly Knight 38:16
Exactly. You’d be here labeled with all sorts of things, perhaps. So how do you then choose so you know that you have to move? But how do you make that choice of where to move to?

Cheryl Mead 38:31
Okay, so, for me, I’m really lucky, because I have all the tests to prove. So I guess for radio frequencies and, and electric fields and dirty electricity. And they’re the they’re the things that impact you the most. So when you look at the new build, you need to assess how close it is to a telephone tower. Is it close to transmission lines, the things that you don’t want electrical heating in the floor.

And, and where the solar inverter is so that solver inverter if you have solar panels, you don’t want that anyway, neither bedrooms, it can produce the electricity, things that produce the electricity or things like diamond switches, and any, any power that goes through a changing power like from a computer into a PowerPoint, so you’ll get you get in a field or an energy field coming off appliances, sometimes it’s really hard to do. So I bumped up tasted ranchos I’ve got one here I can’t use because it’s produces a massive amount of electricity from parts of air is a magnetic field from the unit itself to the extreme level. And so I wouldn’t know that except I was standing next to and I just kept feeling really bad really bad. So I got out my going out my equipment. And it was like in the I won’t go into it but but that the reading was in the extreme level. So radio frequencies for instance for eight tests in microwatts per cubic meter. And when we test the magnetic fields, I see electric fields and magnetic fields we test them in many gas or or in NEMA Tesla’s so we have a standard that we work to so we know what’s safe

Molly Knight 40:39
right. And that’s from your range hood Oh, I never thought, range hood. Yeah, suppose anything electrical? Isn’t it has the potential to be of harm to certain people talking about that. What about these antibodies? Some people have them some don’t? Can you explain a little bit more there Cheryl,

Cheryl Mead 41:00
Oh the stuff with mold when the seven normal years or a year mold? Sorry, yeah, so the normal immune system, actually, it pretty much it’s our native intelligence it kicks in. And it knows when we’re actually exposed to a toxin. So it builds up builds up anybody so it gets rid of it. So that’s what happens when you get a cold. So you might be exposed to some germs. And those germs actually, were made up of bacteria, basically more bacteria than what we ourselves. So it’s a period, which is part of our immune system. And when when our immune system kicks in, it fights off those toxins. So normal, will say, people that produce antibodies will actually fight the toxin from the mouth. So you can have one person in a house who has those antibodies and can fight the toxin produced by the mold, and they won’t get sick. Goats basically be fine. And then you have another person who doesn’t produce them, and they will get really sick. And so what happens is the person that’s not getting sick, there’s a delay, the other person is getting sick from the environment, because they’re not sick, so often is really confusing to people. And I’ve had discussions with these people will it a good example is that the bucks, okay, and the wife’s really sick, and he thinks its all in the head. I’m ok I’m not sick it can’t be the environment.

Molly Knight 42:29
Sounds very familiar.

Cheryl Mead 42:32
Yeah, so the person who doesn’t produce any bodies, their toxins build up. And the end, the the mold, when it breaks, gets into the body, it breaks through cell membranes, and it sort of like has a really toxic effect. And you have to go through, you do need to seek specialist help to be able to deal with it. But if you don’t remove the mold, or if you don’t get rid of if you don’t move out of that mold environment, for instance, to get rid of that a lot of the times with if it’s the same, so if you’re sensitive to electrical equipment, or what radio frequencies, which is all wireless devices, if you remove them, then you basically have no effect your body heals. So that’s what I do. So I help people set up really healthy environments so that whether they get better, because there’s the what’s causing the problem isn’t there anymore? Or they do it as a prevention, some of them would say don’t want to get sick. Yeah. And that’s what really when we get into children’s health, that’s what’s really critical. Yes. So, yeah,

Molly Knight 43:41
yeah, we’re looking forward to that. So if you are having health issues, which it’s a jigsaw of what can cause health issues these days, because of the pollution in the air, and our water and the toxicity in foods, and medications, and so on. But if you’re having health issues, and you’ve explored all your medical avenues, it would be reasonable to think maybe it’s your home environment. So how, what would be the steps? So you’d call someone like yourself and say, you know, come and see what’s happening in my house?

Cheryl Mead 44:25
Yeah, so we have a, there is a pretty strict protocol that we follow in relation to doing an assessment. And the first one is to get to because what we do is find this first because we don’t actually treat the person or diagnose the person, we, we diagnose the environment, and we basically treat the environment. So we solve the environmental problems, as opposed to solving a problem of a symptom. So the symptom is a sign there’s something wrong. Yes, I got a symptom and it could be just constant current flows or it could be that you can’t sleep at night, whatever it is, then that’s not natural. So when we go into someone’s home, usually it’s because they have a problem, it could be from mold. So someone has not been able to get better, or they diagnosed with chronic fatigue, which is a thing, a diagnosis that they make when they can’t work out what it is. So then the other problems can be related to children or adults who have children especially potentially had a head cause for children that that were okay. And then all of a sudden, they were diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. And they’ve gone to the, they’ve been cleaning up the environment. So getting rid of all the, the, the toxins in their home, so moving to really healthy, natural cleaning products, but they’ve also reduced the chemicals in their food in their diet, they’ve cleaned that up. And then the next step is to clean up the environment. I have noticed people is children who have been diagnosed with autism, and they’ve got them off the autism spectrum, by going through a whole range of things, including removing, or mold is one. So if you’ve got mold, it can actually have an effect. And if you’ve got a lot of wireless technology in your home, that can have an effect on on young children. So what we do is we go into a home, and we have a fairly lengthy questionnaire. So we we get lots of historical evidence about the health of the people in the home, about the history of the home, what’s happened in the home, what they’ve introduced into the home since or prior to them getting sick, and, and anything that we can actually assess about behind. So we we asked lots of questions about, you know, all the things that they use. And that even gets down to do you have an electric blanket, you know,

Molly Knight 47:02
it’s like, okay, yeah,

Cheryl Mead 47:04
what’s happening on an on an electromagnetic field. That’s the first stage. And then we actually it depends on what we’re there for. If it’s for mold assessment, we would be looking for moisture damage. If there’s been a rain event, if there’s been a storm event, if they’ve had, for instance, a like a washing machine has flooded in the laundry, but they haven’t really cleaned it up properly. So in other words that didn’t get all the moisture, the water could be sitting underneath the flooring, it could be in the walls, it may still be there, you can test for that with a moisture meter. You can also look for signs. so swollen timber, and carpet that’s been discovered discolored, things like plaster board that’s actually swollen. And a really big problem is particle board. So not many people know that particle board or what’s called MDF, medium density fiberboard or the flooring, which is made up of like what we used to just call it chipboard is those products are really loaded with formaldehyde. formaldehyde is in built into those products, it’s part of the process of making them. And formaldehyde is a class one carcinogen, so it’s extremely toxic. Once mold grows on that, that’s what traits that toxicity in the multiple. So we have to identify if there’s if there’s water on the floor or on flooring, that’s that’s chipboard, or in tablets, for instance, a lot of the white melon line underneath it is just what’s called. It can be it can be MDF, or it can be just really pretty cheap from China. So there’s no restrictions in China in relation to formaldehyde. We have restrictions on how much Malahide you can have in a product made in Australia. So if you’re buying Australian made products, or if you know how to look for healthy products, you don’t have to have these toxins in your home.

Molly Knight 49:12
So he’s saying if if a product’s coming from a country where there are restrictions and there’s no import restrictions, that you could be actually well, poisoning I suppose for want of a better word, making yourself sick by your cupboards. Oh, yeah. Yeah.

Cheryl Mead 49:36
A good example is my my son was actually renovating his house and I’ll go and visit him on a regular basis. Every time I would go there, I would have her reaction. But one day I was actually really bad. And as soon as I walked in, I could feel it in my throat and I just felt absolutely terrible. I said okay, so what have you bought? So firstly, what have you introduced into the house because the house was never finished. They said oh, we just bought some new blinds. And I knew straightaway, so products that come in from China, for instance, and metro system is a good example, products coming from China, they use formaldehyde, when they pack them into a crate to stop them from creasing, because it’s sort of like for a decrease product, or has a benefit for that. It all it also is lots of uses for that height. So I won’t get into all that. But the thing is formaldehyde ever built into the product or put on the product when it leaves China, when they’re brought here, and everything’s like, a good example, this this blinds and that when they come in a pack that he bought and opened up the plastic pack, and that emits all the volatile organic compounds, which is formaldehyde is one of them. And they stayed within that room or within their home, until they gradually get filtered out. And we become the filter. So we breathe them in, into our bodies, and our bodies filled service and their bodies and we breathe out plane in. So bit like tap water. So if you don’t have a filter on your, on your town water, which has poor rains and disinvestment, in disinfection by products and fluoride, then our body filters it. So we absorb the toxins, we become the filter. So when you actually introduce these things into your home, if you don’t know that they loaded, then they stay in that environment, often for a very long time. And that I had, I just knew when I walked into my son’s house, I said, Oh, you’ve got something. And sure enough, it was the new blinds that he put up. So this is why when we get into children’s health, we need to understand, okay, so they are more effective than us. We’ll talk about that more later. But there’s lots that we can actually do to stop that from happening. And one is obviously know a little bit more about how to select products.

Molly Knight 52:01
Yeah, exactly. It’s very important. I certainly didn’t realize how important that would be. So with your son’s blinds, what? Because even if he’s not noticing an adverse effect from it, it would have to be adversely affecting their health. His body heal. Yeah. So what would you suggest he does in that case, or anybody who’s putting in new new products

Cheryl Mead 52:30
are a couple of little tips. So when you buy something new from the shop doesn’t matter whether it’s insane, you buy a mattress, or or a something that’s covered in a plastic wrap. Don’t take the plastic wrap off inside, take it off outside, okay, you can air it out for a while, lick it off, guess what s means it actually gradually off gases into the air, not into your home outside. Everything’s bearing things that is real. The other thing you said do some research before you buy it. So there’s some really good companies in Australia that make products that are non toxic, that they cater for the the community that are looking for them. So you ask lots of questions. Is my recommendation

Molly Knight 53:20
is same

Cheryl Mead 53:22
thing with will say? Well, I have known mattresses connection calls, because you’re sleeping on a mattress to get a new mattress, you put them into your kid’s bedroom. And then I would put stories of children being really sick from sleeping on a brand new mattress. And that’s because it’s been it’s full of potentially from aldehyde. But also things like they treat, they treat treat fabrics for all sorts of reasons. So you don’t want to buy antifungal products because they treated them with a chemical or a pesticide.

Molly Knight 54:03

Cheryl Mead 54:04
So they’re not recommended and your own. If you actually look at some of the products that that are that are produced in outside of Australia. When they when they come here, they come in bulk and they want mattresses for instance, and most people didn’t, wouldn’t know this that they actually put mattresses in like a metal cage. And they squash them down really, really, really tight. So they push all the era of them. And what happens the reason I put formaldehyde on it because when they come to Australia, they they come in a container, compacted and then they’re put into a big sort of mesh cage, where they actually pretty much unseal them so, so they go boom and that and the mattresses, just expand formaldehyde actually stops the materials from increasing. That’s why they use formaldehyde. But you know that. So, so that’s sort of how it ends up in so they really loaded. Or they could have things things like clothing that is traded with us. It’s not flammable, like the previous

Molly Knight 55:25
year, the fireretardant.

Cheryl Mead 55:27
Yeah, that’s it, this was wonderful. So that’s really toxic. So all clothes that you buy, you should wash before you ever put them on your children. Even the things that you bring into your home, like pillows and that they really need for pillow covers, for instance, they need to be washed before they use. And, or if it’s something that needs to be aired out, leave it outside and sunlight is a great source of things.

Molly Knight 55:56
So just replacing your pillows would be, you know, a similar thing, wouldn’t it? You know, stick it outside in there, stick it on the line in the sun for a day or so. And yeah,

Cheryl Mead 56:08
yeah. I mean, just some little tips. You know, there’s lots of little things that you can do if you know a little bit about where where the toxins are, where they where things are manufactured makes a difference. I would say, I would say look for Australian made products, because we have really better regulations here.

Molly Knight 56:27
Yes, that’s that’s definitely true. We do. Yeah. And,

Cheryl Mead 56:32
and that you do a little bit hogwash. Yeah, there is a website for people to go to if they want to know more about what’s toxic and whatnot. And that’s the Environmental Working Group. So that’s out of the US, and they have lots of information for people if they want to actually do some research. And there’s a healthy building network, but it’s quite an event. to them.

Molly Knight 56:57
Mm hmm. Yeah, I think I guess the the greatest stumbling block would be people aren’t aware, they don’t have the awareness to to think, Oh, well, this is happening physically for me or mentally, I should be looking at my my home or, or my new cupboards or my new carrying. And people trot off to the doctor and get diagnosed somehow. And perhaps it was the home all along.

Cheryl Mead 57:27
Yeah, actually just mentioned new cars. But if anyone realizes you, people sometimes say I really love that new car smell.

Molly Knight 57:35

Cheryl Mead 57:37
Well, that’s actually producing the volatile organic compounds from all the plastics and vinyls. So vinyl is a really toxic product. It’s the least favored bitmoji product because it produces toxins when it’s produced, many of mine is manufactured. And it actually also will offset so things like vinyl flooring or vinyl covers, things like that will actually contribute to the essays in the home environment once they’re trapped indoors. And then when they put in demand field, they release even more toxins. So we try to Yeah, polyvinyl chloride or PVC is a is really toxic. So we try and steer clear of those sorts of products. Whereas on the added compared to vinyl flooring, things like linoleum, which is natural base from linseed is actually a really healthy choice on the Malian. So there’s sort of some some things that we point people in the direction of, if they’re healthy alternatives.

Molly Knight 58:45
Yeah, that’s good to know. So can people do you have a webpage with all this information? Or do you have something that you could give me that we can pop onto our web page so people can get some more information? Because I think this is, I think, probably for me as a practitioner, I think mold, which I do harp on about a bit I know, but I think it’s like a missing link to things like cancer, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, any of the auto immune diseases. I think, in every aspect of health, there’s a mold link. That’s just my sense of health care. But people aren’t aware of it. And I mean, there’s other aspects as well of course with the electromagnetic fields and radiation and so on, but have you got leases or something that people can

Cheryl Mead 59:42
infect sheets, which I I look, there’s a lot of science and the real problem with scientists that they are not easy documents to read or decipher. So they’re not in normal language that we can relate to. There are some are have some some factsheets on my website under Resources, and so there is one on mode, which you’ve actually got the copy off. So you can actually put that up on your website. If you’re new.

Molly Knight 1:00:09
Thank you. Yeah,

Cheryl Mead 1:00:10
I have some in relation to like information, endocrinology and why I think it is such a great subject. It’s also effects on EMF and how to assess things like exposure to EMF, which is a little bit more technical. And I would have to say, a public would prefer to actually do some training with people to get their head around it, because it’s not something that is easily understood.

Molly Knight 1:00:39
So it’s quite a very complex,

Cheryl Mead 1:00:43
yes, but definitely, so Richie Shoemaker, who actually is has a mold website, surviving mold, or something like that, from the US has a lot of information to go to, as well as the just want to think wherever where the best place to go to or the fact sheet actually has lots of links, or links to information. And if people know that there was a parliamentary inquiry into biotoxin illness, which is mold, and there is on the Australian government website, if you google biotoxin, illness, parliamentary inquiry, one of those in those terms, you will get a link to the government website where people would in submissions, and there’s lots of stories there in relation to the the health effects and stories about people wanting the government to change the laws around mold in buildings. In other words, it’s not it’s not illegal to rent out a building if it’s full of mold, for instance. And and there’s no there’s no odors on on building is to fix mold problems. And, and I just really seriously think that there should be some, no, I caught it. Great. Yeah. I have actually bought the mean in the UK. So we we do usually follow what happened. Certainly we did good work health and safety or occupational safety. Yeah. So maybe one day they will hear and it hasn’t happened yet. There’s lots of submissions in relation to actually you’ll find Tim law submission on that Australian parliamentary website. Okay, I have a copy if anyone wants wants a copy of it. And which relates to the home building industry, if if builders want to be conscientious and understand how to build a safe home? construction, yeah.

Molly Knight 1:02:57
as they should, as they should. Yeah. And people do what they they have to to what the law says. But if there’s no, um, there’s no regulation around the mold, or the damage, water damage? I don’t know. Just, that seems a little unfair.

Cheryl Mead 1:03:20
If it does, because that’s passing the buck to someone else in like that, the whole industry building industry, and I’m part of it my whole family’s in the industry, but but for, as we know, there’s always there’s always the good people, and there’s always the bad people. So you have to understand that the more we focus on the goal, the better outcomes we’re going to get.

Molly Knight 1:03:47
Yeah, absolutely. And, yeah, I guess research research and yeah, look by Aussie made, it’s pretty simple, isn’t it? Really?

Cheryl Mead 1:03:58
Yeah. What and and check with the with the manufacturers, because what we do is when we look for a product, any product, we always look for a safety data sheet, and we assess what’s not many people will actually be able to assess that. Otherwise, they will help you whether or not it meets the guidelines. So that’s what we look for. So the content material, for instance, the formaldehyde in in a building product is listed, and you can search for low levels. So there’s companies that actually make safer paddleboarders make safer plywood, which is the lowest amount of formaldehyde is which I think is fine. There’s a company in Queensland that actually make really high quality products, which I would specify because because they pretty much tell you what’s what’s the In the product and the safe levels or the safest levels that you can get.

Molly Knight 1:05:04
Mm hmm. Yeah, that’s awesome. Okay, so mold, mold electromagnetic sensitivities. It’s, um, we’ve got a lot to battle, don’t we as human beings on this planet these days?

Cheryl Mead 1:05:21
Yeah, well, I think actually, people think it’s just more than I think it’s mold. And the chemical sort of that that the mold is growing on. That’s what actually creates the the micro toxins or the microbial VRC. So we had to understand it’s not all modes, bad. So why are the ones in buildings so bad? And you’ve got to think about Okay, so what are they growing them? As opposed to outside where they would naturally be? Yeah, okay. Yeah, that’s about it. Yes. So there’s lots of things in plasterboard, there’s lots of things in paddleboarding in carpets and in Nathan furnishings at the end of the day, so some furnishings will actually be affected if they get water damaged. And if they are loaded with chemicals or flame retardants, then that’s actually what the fine is fading on. And that’s things in the air, the tiny spores break off and they filter into the air and then we break them in.

That’s where it’s very Be patient.

Molly Knight 1:06:29
It does go pear shaped, doesn’t it. So just to recap, a dehumidifier, keep your windows open, I guess to keep airflow

Cheryl Mead 1:06:41
windows up, especially think of a nice sunny day make a really good habit, as long as you’re not right next to a freeway or something because you get a lot of pollution for measles. But But yeah, if you’re in a nice leafy suburb, yeah, open your windows up. Not when the wind is howling or anything. But yeah, in your house and a bit more. Sun, sunlight is a really, really good sort of antiseptic, so put things outside like your mattresses every now and then if you cannot put them up to the air, because you’ll have issues like dust mites and things like that. We haven’t gotten into them today. But But Love Bites can affect people with asthma and things like that. So it is and then just cleaning products. It’s just a really simple solution, you know, don’t introduce toxic products into your home. Even the food you eat. I really I don’t think people are aware of the problems caused by food.

Molly Knight 1:07:41
Maybe we can touch on that next Tuesday night when you join. Yeah, that’d be me. And we’ll have a talk about that. But one of the keys. Yeah, definitely. Yeah. And that’s all these as well.

Cheryl Mead 1:07:53
Yes. Yes. But But having said that people will depend on where they’re at in life, you know, pins on everyone goes through stages, don’t they? Yes. Yeah, exactly.

Molly Knight 1:08:10
Yeah. Yeah. So

Cheryl Mead 1:08:13
if you have any questions that people want down the track, then there’s a couple of handouts on action are available for people. They’re actually on my website as well, if I made them, and the fact sheets for mold, and water damage, and EMF, and the websites wicked

Molly Knight 1:08:35
will list that on our page so that people can can see us and remembers. And thank you. That was a lot of information. And I’m sure it’s probably only a minute amount of what we could discuss. But it was very informative. And I certainly learned a lot. So thanks, Cheryl. That was really fabulous. Yeah, that’s fine, really. And I really look forward to Tuesday as well, where we’ll discuss some pregnancy and environmental toxins and a safe pregnancy foods, obviously, we’re going to touch on foods and, and children’s health and how to perhaps lessen the burden that we have around us now. So do join us next week, folks. Thank you, Cheryl. Really, really pleased that you could join us tonight. Okay, bye. Bye. Thank you, everyone, for joining us. Thanks for staying with us. And we’ll put all Cheryl’s details up on our web page, so that you can download some of the information she’s got and have a look at her website and see what she she can do. And yeah, let’s see. One more thing to add to our little toolkit to be healthier in this world that we’ve all created. So Thanks for joining us. Join us next Tuesday night for another talk with Cheryl. I think you’ll find that really interesting as well. I’m looking forward to it. Good night. Stay safe.



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