Green By Design Podcast Episode 7: A Green Home Journey with Eric and Firnanda Firman

Eric and Fernanda Firman Share Their personal Home Greening Story




Check out the transcript of our conversation with both Eric and Fernanda below

Erica:

Welcome to the green by design podcast. Thank you so much for being here today. We have Fernanda and Eric Ferman, and I'm going to tell you a little bit about them before I get started, grilling them with all of my important questions. So Fernanda is a healthy home architect and Eric is a healthy home contractor. Fernando was born and raised in Brazil, and she never saw that her own home in America would slowly start to make her sick. Eric developed his own line of water filtration equipment, and he has also been a speaker and a coach for the industry through the process of healing, Fernanda and Eric together have found that many other families have had the same issue that they have experienced together. They've been helping people build and remodel and create healthy homes by reducing their exposure to toxins. And that is a little bit about them, but we're going to delve much deeper into that bio and their story. And so, yes. Welcome. And thank you so much for having this good to be here for all of you out there. You wouldn't necessarily know this, but this is a bit of a role reversal for us. These two first interviewed me for their, webinars educational series, which, we will put in the show notes and then I thought I would flip the table on them and get the chance to interview them and their story more in depth. So this is fun.

Erica:

Well, let's dig into it. you have a very interesting story that I have heard anecdotally over and over again, but this is the first opportunity I've had to really like get to the nitty-gritty about this happening to real people that I know. So, what we're going to be talking about is your experience in renovating well, your, your general background and what you used to do and what you do now and how you got into the healthy indoor built environment industry. So take it away. Yeah. So hi everybody. We're very pleased to be here today and for the opportunity to share our story with the listeners. And I know from talking to a lot of our friends that a lot of people have been going through the same story, but they don't know exactly how to solve the problems. You know, as Eric has said, I was born in Brazil. And, what I remember from my childhood it's, you know, clean air, like just doors were open. Uh, we ended was blowing all the time. I could smell the, you know, the food that was being cooked freshly every single day. And, uh, we didn't have much, so there was not too much clutter to collect dust. And I came to America in 2000 and I guess

Fernanda:

2005. And that's when I started, I didn't see initially what was going on with me, but over time, uh, Eric and I, we start remodeling homes. And that when the last one that we remodeled, we were living inside of the house and I got extremely sick for two years. I had headaches every single day. I had no energy, everything the beetle would beetle, no, like I had no desire to do anything. All just being bad. I had memory fog. I had dizziness, short breath, all that kind of stuff. And I went to from doctor to doctor and every single result came back just more and more. And they were basically thinking that I was just creating this kind of disease or this kind of problem to get some attention. But the hardest part was to actually pinpoint what was going on. And even around my family, people were not validating how I was feeling.

Fernanda:

They didn't understand. They thought I just exercise. You just need to eat better. You just need to do that. Everybody had a piece of advice, but nobody knew exactly what was going on and was not into, we were remodeling and all the house in Las Vegas that we're staying there for three or four days and be realized that I was able to wake up before that one went off six o'clock in the morning, had energy to work throughout the day with no coffee. I didn't need anything. And that's when one day Eric and I just clicked that it's something in the house and I will let you speak about that. Yeah. If you want to interject there. But, yeah, that was the aha for us. When we started talking to couples saying things like nobody could really pinpoint what was happening. And I think for us, just kind of seeing it, you know, California has been on the forefront of trying to save energy, which is amazing.

Eric:

But one of the unfortunate byproducts we've found is tightening up our homes so much in effort to save energy, did something else where we basically enclosed ourselves into a big bag, so to speak. And so that fresh air that would normally leak through our homes and is no longer exchanging fresh air in the house. And we went from normal CO2 level carbon dioxide that we exhale fresh air for. Jeff was around 400. Now our home was like 2000 at night where we're sleeping. So it was five times higher. And that's where brain fog is in S all these things start coming into play. That was one of the things. So we brought fresh air into the house. Commercial's been doing it for years. I would see that in commercial products projects. So that's where I kind of started looking into it. We basically turned our house into a running lab because once we realized it was maybe our home that was doing that to us and she works from home and she was home more often.

Eric:

So she was really the one number one that was sensitive to these things. And number two is spending more time in the environment. So we got the double pane windows, which we didn't have before. It was an older, existing home. So yeah, bringing all these things up to speed. Yeah. And then all of the stuff that we did to the home, like flooring and all these things that kind of got locked into the house and didn't, you know, off gas outside the home, they stayed inside of that. So, how do you bring nature back into the house and still be energy efficient, still be green minded, but part of green really is going back to nature and being simple. So there's this balance on the residential side homes? I don't see yet in my industry, what's been in commercial for years, mostly because of safety issues get a thousand people in a building. Imagine if you don't have fresh air getting to that building drop over dead, maybe in a couple of hours. So homes, especially if it's existing, you're not going to really see these measures implemented. And that was one of the biggest ones I think for us, is getting nature back into the house.

Erica:

Absolutely. So, wow. That's insane. I feel like I can personally relate sometimes. and I do, I mean, I haven't, we haven't remodeled. we're currently in one half of, uh, old pre-war home. that's been split down the middle and made into a little duplex, but, but there are some problems with it and the lingo, I wonder if that's what's happening because we don't have an HVAC system here yet. I'm probably going to be getting a portable air filter. So it just freaks me out hearing about that, even though we hear about it all the time, it's different in this context. So let's back up a little bit. So you guys were doing like, just flips for real estate investment and Fernando, you're an architect by trade and then Eric in construction may trade. Right. So you're kind of like the dream team

Eric:

By the fight, a lot team we've made it through how many together, like, Oh my gosh. And we lived in the remodels most of the time too. So that was even more challenging.

Erica:

That's totally, totally crazy. My husband and I are experiencing the same thing. The designer he's a structural engineer, turned real estate developer by trades. So like we're trying to be the, the dream team and, or argue a lot team. so I can relate. Okay. So you were working on these homes, you were living in them, and then you finally realized that, and you started to do some research about what all you could do. I'm understanding and figuring that out before. I want to know what the fixes were that you did. I want to just point out this is something I have said on this show before and said to my students in the past, which is that it's not always the same thing to be sustainable and to be non-toxic and one day we can get there and have a word that encompasses both of it, but it is a balance and align that you have to walk and be aware of.

Erica:

And I think that your story is, a real life example of that. Cause I'm always trying to find like examples of what I mean in that case. And that's exactly perfect. So just to reiterate, it sounds like you were doing all these things to be very energy efficient. You replaced windows with tighter windows that didn't necessarily let as much light or air in and maybe some installation procedures and maybe some other things. And just making sure that there was no drafts or leaks, which can contribute to, you know, a much higher energy costs and things like that. So you were tightening all that up and then the flow of air sort of diminished with. Yeah. And so you had a higher release of other chemicals. You said one of them was carbon dioxide just from being human beings, that expel carbon dioxide. And then other things you mentioned were potentially some volatile organic compounds, VOC is from products as you were installing them into your remodels, like the flooring glue or anything. Vinyl

Eric:

Caulking is a big one. I just had a conversation with a, we were just on a job, checking it out today. And yesterday two really big projects. And luckily this stuff is getting into the conversation. And early on, one of these is pre-build and the other one's being built. And this is another challenge too, is in an effort to be greener. Some of these products don't last as long either. Like for example, there was a really good cocking, which is one of the worst off gassing materials, even higher. The paints are glues historically, but talking to some of these contractors that have used them, and I've seen that myself as some of them don't last as long too. So again, like I said, where's, where's the balance of the longevity and it's, it's tough. The good thing is, is we're all starting to try now. And some of these things are mandated. Thank goodness. But yeah, that was a big one. Is we locked all of that stuff into furniture.

Erica:

Yeah. That amazing smell that I used to love, like that smell of new car. And I like the smell of new leather, which is probably just as bad. So yeah. I could like sniff take a big inhale of leather or like old books where the glue that's what you're smelling like the decaying. Yes. Yeah. Even like the smell of diesel, honestly. Yeah.

Eric:

Bleach.

Erica:

Okay. So I have a couple of questions for the caulking. If it doesn't last as long, are you familiar with the, the non-toxic version? Are you familiar with the lifespan of a greener version that is not going to off cast as many chemicals? Like how many years are we talking compared to conventional?

Eric:

Yeah, that's a great question. And I don't know the answer to that yet, because I think most of them, at least the one that I found that's no longer in business, I don't think there were enough studies done on it because it was so new that the one I found was within the last five years and they're already off the market. So hopefully kind of like the electric car that started in the eighties and is now finally here, I think it's going to come again. Absolutely. But I don't think anybody's there yet to substantiate the difference in how long they're going to last. I don't think they've been out long enough from what I've seen. I don't know

Erica:

. Okay. So we have to look through all of our resources to see if we can still find companies that are trying to do a better job, that particular material, just to clarify a couple of the things that we're talking about. Sometimes if you're doing wood floor or even a carpet floor, the adhesive, the backing is where basically anytime you have an adhesive is where we're going to be finding those chemicals that can come out into the air off gas is the term that we use. And then if you are using flooring, which you might've been doing those luxury vinyl that look like wood, or look like some cool pattern, vinyl has a chemical in it, oftentimes called PVC. And that is one of the gnarly ones that you want to avoid vinyls that are PVC free. I don't know that even those are the way to go, but PVC is something that you want to be asking about in terms of manufacturers for the designers out there.

Erica:

And then lastly, you mentioned the furniture, which is something we've been talking a lot about on this show. Like what the heck is in yourself and your nursing chair and your recliner and all the things that you spend the most time in or that your family. And so things that we need to be looking out for in there. I think a lot of people are more aware about the fire retardants and we're starting to see more makers, not put those in or not add any extras. And to be clear about that, that's not a VOC, it's a different kind or category of chemical, which doesn't off gas into the air, but should you absorb it? Should it float around into dust and eat it? Or a lot of times cats will lay on a piece of furniture and then look themselves and then get thyroid and die. So like any method of ingestion or being on you, it does accumulate and stay in your body system because it still stays in the fat cells. And it doesn't get pushed out,

Eric:

Basically like what would happen with lead.

Erica:

Similar. I think it's a similar man. I'm not, I'm not a doctor, but I know that he's been inhaling it the way airborne or volatile organic compounds are floating around in the air. I think it's a bit different process just to clarify.

Fernanda:

One of the things that I think that's important too, is like one of our, our clients she's like, I'm never using, you know, PVC, shower, curtains, you know, that's so toxic, especially because when you're taking a shower, you know, as heats up, you know, it gets, they vapor and he gets in the air, but she is applying, she's remodeling her home and she's using vinyl flooring and uh, the craziest stuff. Yeah. The craziest thing is they are remodeling and getting read off the flooring that they have right now because her husband got sick. So one of the things that I, you know, I really, it's very hard for us even to know everything that's out there to know all the products what's safe, what's not, but the good thing is shows like yours. You know, there's so many resources out there that we just need to educate, get educated little by little every day and go through the resources that are already available in search, call the manufacturer and ask, what are you using? How do I put it down? What are the components of this flooring? Cause I think that it's very important,

Erica:

Right? Absolutely. And like, as a little anecdote, I once purchased wallpaper that wasn't an eco friendlier version from the adhesive to the components of the paper itself, which can be any, any type of vinyl or fabric or paper or led coded, or clay go to all kinds of things. And he took the paper, but then he used his own additional adhesive in addition. So it kind of like completely negated the point of what to do. So just like little things like that, but I would love to know more about the last half of your story. So what did you end up doing as a solution in your own home? And then how did that help you figure out what you're doing now and how do you help other people now?

Fernanda:

So I'm going to start and let Eric finish the story. We started out as well a while ago are nontoxic lifestyle started about seven or eight years ago. And that's when we started looking into the water bottles and Eric started testing the water and he realized that after buying many systems, that the systems were not delivering what they're supposed to deliver, probably like a whole house water filtration.

Erica:

Okay. So you are installing an entire home water filtration system and then you would get, was it a home testing kit?

Eric:

Well, we bought other said we bought a lot of systems. We invested in, uh, first I did about a year's worth of research and I settled on a system. Didn't do what we thought it would. And so then I started buying other systems and basically testing them, sending some things to like a third party lab. Then I invested in the equipment to test a lot of the initial things right away, unfortunately. So there's two things. One is absolutely believe every single one of us in California needs some sort of water filtration system. And then number two, it's an industry riddled with bogus products and misinformation. So it's hard to figure out what, what in your house. So, it was a long journey. We came up with our own stuff because I couldn't find anything from anybody else that I could believe in that actually worked.

Erica:

I mean, I've done like sort of on a whim. I bought like one of those little testing strips on Amazon. I have, you know, it's said I have like five, the Julian cards of all kinds of heavy metals in the sinks because they kept tasting specifically in this place. I kept tasting heavy metals and I was like, Oh man. And I felt like I was tasting it more in the kitchen sink than I was in the bathroom saying, but I test both. Like, it was just those little home kits with the test strips. I have no idea. It scared me to death. I have a Brita that's about it that I am able to do currently. But as we get our own house, that is something I'm going to be thinking heavily about. Okay. So water was one thing you wanted to make sure that what you were showering in and drinking in was clear of heavy metals and I guess chlorine and fluorines. Yeah.

Fernanda:

And that was huge because I was not a believer back then. And then we moved into our new house and we moved to our new house and my son was a year and a half old. So he was born in the house. It had a whole house, water filtration system. We moved to the new house and the house. We didn't have time to install it. And my son developed eczema, probably his whole body. And, you know, we didn't want to apply the steroids twice a day, you know, his whole body. So when Eric installed the system, the symptoms went away and he never had a flare up again.

Erica:

Wow. So do you think he was extra sensitive to that because, or maybe the doctor has since told you because he was born and lived in a house without like he

Erica:

Was not inoculated or like adapted in any way. I mean, a lot of people have eczema for a lot of different reasons, but like, I wonder if it was almost worse at the start, it like it came on so hard with no exposure to that. I don't know.

Eric:

Yeah. It's really tough to say, I definitely have a heart for parents going through that because like somebody we've searched all over for every single answer and it was an accident that right around the same time that we were still looking for solutions before we attempted to put something like steroids on our one-year-old, which is the last thing we wanted to do. We were looking for everything we could, like she said, I installed it without anybody knowing. So a couple of things happened all at the same time. That's when we were like, okay, there's definitely something to this. So for people listening know, once you have eczema, you have it forever. I think it's something that's always in your flare ups. So when you get the drying effect from all the water treatment that's going on, which is quote unquote safe, because you're not going to get dysentery, you know, you're going to get all these crazy diseases that people would get when water wasn't treated well. It's so powerful that, it dries out your skin, it dries out women's hair coloring, you doing your hair is going to last half the amount of time, all this stuff you're spending money on with your face last time

Erica:

Hair done yesterday.

Eric:

Well, so yeah, so her sister was here visiting from Brazil where the water is just amazing right out of the top, within like a couple of days of being here before, put it in. She's like, what is wrong with your water? Oh yeah. She was itching like crazy. Or hair looked like this frizzy mass and with water filtration in kids, eczema went away, her symptoms went away. It was just, all these things started happening. And this wasn't even the system that we're using today. It was like half. yeah. So, that's when we knew something. So that was the first thing that we started doing. And then we changed our cleaning products. We change our laundry products and that was the second major thing that we did in a house. The other thing too, with some of the furniture they were about to replace, they were about eight years old.

Fernanda:

So when I learned about a toxins inside and all the DLCs and new furniture, we decided that, you know what, this furniture looks amazing. We already, you know, the furniture already off gas. There's no reason for us to replace it just because they want to redecorate the home until we find something that it's safe, non-toxic that we can put in a house. So we decided to keep the furniture that we had and the new one that we had already, we had just bought new couch, new carpet, new area, rugs, new the core, and you know, the blankets, the new hellos that we got, we took them all back because when we learned what's inside and what they're made out of, we like we can't live with this. Eric would get red eyes immediately when he was coming home. So that was another thing we did.

Fernanda:

And then Eric did the major, the two major things was doing them, the air, the air filtration and the EMS and the water on the air side, we did a couple of things, fresh air coming in, but it was, a HEPA filter for the whole house that runs basically all day long, on a really low volume of air. And then it's coupled by a UV filter at the end of it. So just like you mentioned, getting one of those room filters, imagine that doing your whole house. So that's basically what we have. And then another element of this, which is the end of this story, which we're now detoxing her body. We got toxic mold in our house after all of that, which is a whole nother thing that is coming up these days. There are people, as I started researching this, we were looking at a $70,000 home remediation from the water damage that we had.

Eric:

And it wasn't just like something that was apparent. Like you wake up and your house is underwater. It was leaks of walls. It was intrusion from rain and this is our box. They built outside. And so you're looking into, you know, having somebody do that, that, that wall was the arcane. Why don't we just get certified and do it ourselves? So we did, that's a big thing is coming up. And through that, I found out people, even in Las Vegas where average, humidity's like 10, 15%, they're getting mold in their homes too, because it's the same thing closed up their homes. The air is not exchanging. And mold is showing up in people's homes in Vegas. Like you wouldn't believe. Which just seems crazy to me.

Erica:

I thought I've wondered that before and tried to make those two things work together. In my mind being, I kind of was going in circles thinking, do I need a dehumidifier or a humidifier? Like I live in, I live in a semi desert in Southern California. So do you guys, so I was kind of just like, why do I, what am I in danger? But it does make sense. Now when you look at it from a construction point of view, okay, so you had an entire whole house air filtration. So it was a forced air system filled fill titration system. And it sounds like it was, can you explain the difference between, or maybe just explain a little bit about what that HEPA filter is and what it does?

Eric:

Absolutely. So there's a lot of irritants or quote unquote toxins in the air that we deal with even outside and everywhere. So each one does different things. So for example, me, for example, I get very sensitive to particulates in the air. It could be released during cooking. Something is cooking in your own kitchen and the vent above the stove, not working really well can be all these beautiful decoration items that you guys like to put in, like curtains, for example, that whole dust. And if you get to the right temperature going on in your house, you can have just mites and as things kind of disintegrate over time, you just get particles in the air, particulates are caught by the HEPA filter. And, it's just a really fine mash. Lennox is the best company that I've seen that gives you the most amount of filtration without putting a drag on the system to, so that catches particles.

Eric:

And then at the end of it, if you have an air conditioner, which does remove some of the humidity that humidity collects in this dark wet box, and if you don't have a really good filter, you have all this particles collecting on your it's called an evaporator coil. That's next to your furnace. It grows stuff in there, algaes molds and these types of things. So I have a UV light that doesn't produce those own. Another tip there you want, as you looking for your filtration stuff, if it does UV, make sure it's certified not to put out ozone, which is a lung air. So that helps knock out any viruses, bacteria and things like that. So that's part of it. Then you've got fresh air, which helps the CO2 levels, which helps cognitive brain function. But humidity is a big one too, because you want to be right in between like 30 and 50%. There's a range of humidity. You go below that, you've got viruses, you go bomb. You've got mold. There's other things that grow on. Either spectrum dust mites thrive in a warm human environment. So humidity is a big one. You can do a portable unit, just like the air filter that you're looking for. You can also do a whole house dehumidifier. And that's really important from what we're finding out, especially in homes like Vegas or ours or anybody using heating and air equipment and trying to save money, but then you've got for air quality,

Erica:

Right? So to touch on the thing you mentioned, there's no ionic button or feature on the type of air filtration you're talking about, which should just be reiterated because that is, I think, still a thing that is possible to purchase. Would you, do you do not want to do it produces is Bozon. Oh three.

Eric:

Yeah. And it's interesting because ozone is amazing for cleaning water, like in Brazil, for example, ozone is there water treatment there? And I wish they would do it here because there's no chlorine needed. It's amazing. We've even had an ozone for our laundry, but it's also a caustic, meaning it burns. So it could blow out all the seals in your laundry machine. And if it gets airborne, it basically starts to burn your lungs and nasal, obviously.

Erica:

Right? So in this capacity, it actually in an air filter situation, it would be producing ozone into the air, which you don't want to do. It's actually, uh, one of the significant greenhouse gases and beyond that, it is a compound that is irritating to human health as well. So, it's something to avoid.

Eric:

Yeah. So as you look through those, when we travel, we bring a portable unit and we can send you those little void. I think you pronounce it, the voice L E V O I T a really small unit you thrown in your suitcase, hotels are riddled with dust and stuff too, just to particulates like that. I'm really sensitive to, there's no UV light on it whatsoever, but yeah, these ionizers, it's tough because some do and some don't, but generally ionizers will produce. So it's tough to find them that note.

Erica:

Okay. So we did, we talked about water. We talked about air and you mentioned that you ended up keeping your furniture. That was pretty much done off gassing off, depending on what the product is or the material, it will off gas for a certain amount of time, and you will smell it most significantly at the beginning of that process. But over time, like the amount of compounds that are going to come off will stop. So I am curious though, how, if you still have that stuff or you're looking into getting a new stuff and where you're looking and what your approach is to it, because for this audience, with professionals

Erica:

And the design industry and home-building industry, I would want to be able to share with them,

Erica:

as, I guess, as like ideal clients, which you're representing what you were looking for and how you started to approach it or going to

Eric:

Yeah. So we decided to keep the furniture and we are going to replace them as they start breaking down. Or, you know, as we see that it needs to be replaced. There's two places that I have been looking at in terms of building materials. One of them it's called the green building supply to favorite. Yeah. They have like flooring. They have anything you can think about building a house with. They have those materials there. The other thing too, is they're very good at answering the phone and talking to you and I here, actually the owner of the company asked her to fawn. I didn't know that, you know, they answered the questions you have. If you have anything that you're concerned about, they're very good at explaining it to you. So, and the other guy that it's very good, he actually created a new degree, is a degree. His name is Andy pace. And, uh, he is also a leader in the industry of building your listeners can do a little research on him, Andrew Pace. He's very well known in the industry and that's another place that they can go for resources. Now, in terms of off gassing, it's hard to know. We can't really tell when it's done offgassing unless you have somebody that lives with you that has all their equipment. That's just everything I bring in the house.

Erica:

Amazing. So is it accessible? Do you offer that to people as like a service? Is it accessible to people who like, could someone

Erica:

Around testing things,

Erica:

Not showrooms? Like how do we approach that?

Eric:

So from what I've seen, there's all different levels. And the good thing about technology is the things that professionals used years ago are now becoming accessible to the average consumer or somebody just kind of getting started. So yeah, we can definitely share some of the meters that have bought. Some of them are handheld. Some of them are really expensive, handheld more of the professional level that somebody is not used to buying their home that we use for the mold. For example, some of them are a wifi device that constantly monitors the air than some of the traditional heating and air companies like Honeywell. Like we've all heard of the, make a thermostat. We figured out a way, unfortunately, they don't have a residential model, but I've figured out a way to convert it into residential, where it basically is constantly monitoring the air quality for certain parameters.

Eric:

And they have one for, uh, most of them tied into thermostat humidity. And then the other one is, the CO2 levels, which has been around for years, but the voltage is, uh, something you would use in a home. So you can have for consumers. You just want to set it, forget it. But for as a question, do something, what do you like? You're going into a home. There's all different levels of devices. The challenge I've seen is most of the really accurate devices are going to be in the thousands of dollars. And they're just starting to get stuff that you could buy for a couple hundred dollars that actually works. Like, for example, I bought one of them was like five of them all the same. And they were all reading levels and really frustrating. Yes.

Erica:

And this is something I'm spinning my wheels about personally and trying to, as I've been developing this business, it is something I want to be able to offer. Like I will go in your house and show you, cause that always has more impact than just being able to explain it.

Eric:

There's also a challenge too. And this is what has happened for me is I've realized that there's companies that do this. They'll do like maybe seeing like this air sample, or they'll put it in a room for like an hour and it's pumping air and you put it into this cassette. There's a problem with that. As we do things in the home, the indoor air quality changes, for example, you take a shower, you have poor ventilation, your humidity is going to rise. You cook something in doors. You don't have a ventilation fan like us over there that actually works. It just pumps it back into our home. You wouldn't believe the amount of toxicity that is released from just everyday cooking, normal temperatures. you do something like coloring your hair in the house, doing your nails. Casey called me one day. He's like, what are you doing? I was like, you're doing something because I got an alert.

Fernanda:

I'm just getting my nails done. And he's like, where are you in the bedroom? Because that's where he's like, that is dangerous, not dangerous, but it's like the air quality drops so much. Oh my God. All the time, what you could do for a customer and even in your own home, what I think makes the most sense. It just takes a little while as you can get. There is one company that I like and the other one is you who you are from China. And I kind of do a side by side with these because one excels in certain things like particulates and the other one has more accurate measurements. And another parameter, you basically set them in there for, I would say at least three days. And then it graphs out kind of what's happening in the home. So you learn their habits and the ins and outs of the house when they're having the spikes, that gives you a better picture of what's happening in doors. I don't think it's possible within an hour or even a day to figure out what's going on in the home. And I used to say that, you know, the house to the way we act.

Fernanda:

So, you know, depending on what you do or decrease the air quality. So that's why Eric is saying, it's so hard to pinpoint if it just stayed there for an hour and you have like the window open. Oh, you're fine. But once you start doing the things you do, you know, normally, and I love to give people this habit tracker, and I think you saw in the workshop and that's when you started looking into everything you do in the house and everything, all the products you use, like, and I ask my clients to do like, you wake up, write down everything. So for example, I woke up, I drink water. So the first question is, is your water filter? If that's the first thing you do, then I take a shower. It's your water filter. Then I put makeup on, I put my, my emotions in my face. I do my facial treatment. Well, what are you putting in your face? Is that toxic? Then I put perfume. Well, and then it just start going through all the day. And I asked them to detail every, like, if I could just have a movie and transcript, you know, a transcript of their daily activities, that's when you started seeing where things can be improved in where probably their quality, where it drops in where Eagles higher quality.

Erica:

Right? I think the point that you're touching on is the bigger picture point for me is making sure people are aware that they are not safe from buying from toxicity when they buy everyday products, whether that's a beauty product or a household product or a design product or material, no one. And I've said this on the show before, but there's not an agency that mandates healthy levels for all of these different products. You think the food and drug administration would you think there would be something else for beauty products and furniture, but there isn't, I've talked on this show. There are a few chemicals that are five out of like 80,000, since world war II created that are actually banned. And then there are a significant number, more that are regulated, but the regulated can just mean watched or reported upon. It doesn't mean they're not in your things.

Erica:

It doesn't mean it's not. And when that's such a good exercise to get people, to understand the enormity of the exposure that we're all experiencing every single day. And the last thing I want to just reiterate that, that you said, Eric, before I move on to the next question is you briefly mentioned EMF. I just learned about this this year. And I was just at home inspection for myself as it were trying to purchase house here in LA and the general inspector brought his EMF machine. And it was like turning it on with the old, stove that was in the old house with the fan above the stove and said like, for instance, this is something that can create an electric electromagnetic field. And at first, when I heard about the EMF, I was like, no, I can't do any more. This is another thing you sound like insane hippies leg. What is this? And then I realized, okay, it's actually something that needs to be looked into when you like, learn a little bit about the science. And you have to, I guess, relent to the fact that if you producing electrical field or, you know, waves of any kind in that area. I mean, I'm stuttering over my words because it's hard to describe, but they teach us a little bit about what you have found out so far.

Eric:

And this is a funny story too, because yeah, I'm the biggest skeptic of everything. And you know, I'm always second guessing things. So she went to a medical doctor. You're seeing this a lot. Now who's gone the way of functional medicine and more integrative holistic health. And she won't even work with her patients if they don't have this guy come out and test for EMF,

Erica:

That's how strongly she feels about it. And she does. And she's certified Western doctor.

Fernanda:

Yeah. She's, you're seeing this a lot. quacky dude that got some online degree, this was a full-on MD. And then she like a lot of these people that we've interviewed and met, they can't find the answers. One themselves have gotten sick or somebody they'd love to other places and EMS coming up a lot. And it's even still today is like Tufts, a couple of things that happen. So this guy came over and I'm like, I'm slowly warming up to him. So we did an experiment and we shut the electricity I did when everybody's asleep, I shut the electricity off like camping style for three nights in a row. One of the things that I noticed is I didn't really notice before, and she's starting to notice it now is we've had ringing in the ear, tinnitus, tinnitus, or pronounce it. that went away like every day it was less and less until the third day when I woke up, there was no more ringing in my ears and we can go on and on about that.

Eric:

But I think the biggest takeaway from EMF as you look into it and go down the road is think about how long human beings have been around electricity plus years. Maybe not long. So I don't think we've ever been really taught how to live safely around it. Let's forget about cell phones, even, and wifi and all of that, just electricity alone. So here's one thing that really sold me. We have meters that test for electricity. So we don't kill ourselves at work, right? Well, if you've ever accidentally grabbed a plug in your wallet ever got shocked in your life, most of us house. So that is floating around part of that field, just with the basic wiring in a home is in there. And this guy came to our house and he was basically measuring electricity in the air. And my first thought was, if there's electricity, the air enough to make this pen go off, which I use to test live circuit, but I power a light bulb scenario, the creative boy.

Eric:

So I went out in the middle of the night, found a power line, which will say, Oh, it's not good to go by power lines. Right on top of my son's daycare illuminated a fluorescent tube from thin air, have a video of it. Wow. So holding it near the field. Yeah, just up in the air. It illuminated the ball. Not fully but enough. So the reason why you die when you touch electricity is your heart is going to mimic the patterns of the electricity. And till it basically explodes, it goes 60 times per second. That's the cycle of electricity.

Eric:

So a lot of times people just go into cardiac arrest from electricity or they get burned. But a lot of them that just from the regular wall, electricity, you die because you're on it long enough, your heart is basically just going to explode. So the next thought was okay, if that's in the air, what is that doing to us over time in our natural electric rhythm. So that's where I'm really at with electricity and EMS is the whole wifi and cell phone saying we're doing safe things for that too. Like keeping it away while we sleep and these things, but that research is growing a lot. So yeah, there's definitely something to mention is that a lot of us now we're working from home and we see this just growing. This is like a movement that's growing, everybody's working from home. And for me again, I'm the one that it's just like, totally been like bombarded from every single level. And when I, when this guy came to our house and he came to my office, all of his equipment went crazy here. Right? And he's like, Oh my gosh, this office so bad. It's so bad. And he was asking me, how often do you work here? And I'm like, just like nine hours. And back then I was working like nine to 10 hours a day. But think about this. We have wireless. We have like the router, my router was just by my desk. Do I need to move it? Yes.

Eric:

We've learned a couple of things. If you have the new net gear one that does like two of the five gigahertz, those actually have a button that you can turn it off at night. The biggest thing that their takeaway too is when you're sleeping, you're supposed to be rebuilding and resting. Right. So if that electrical field is constantly messing with your energy system, you're not resting. So, yeah, that's the biggest thing is get that out of your bedroom or maybe turn it off at night. There's a way to turn it off, go dark and turn off the electricity

Erica:

Every night now.

Eric:

No, no, but we are going to turn off zones. So I've come up with something where I can interrupt the main electrical service panel from the house and art explain, but you wouldn't want to go out and shut those things off as the average homeowner or renter ever. Those are not meant to be like light switches. You can actually get really hurt doing that. So there's, so I say that I get sick all the time because he needs to find those systems that he needs to create. We hardwired the whole house, but there's a benefit to hard wiring too. Like for example, even with our grade, we had the TV downstairs was, I mean, one 10th, the speed that it is now. Yeah. It's amazing. The speeds that you'll get from hard wiring, everything, and you can even hardwire your iPhone, your iPad. They make adapters where you can take an ethernet cable and it adapts into your iPad or your phone. You can shut everything off and still use your phone in your bed. And you're not getting any of those signals.

Erica:

Wow. This has been so enlightening. You guys are the real deal. So now, if I'm to recommend you to people, I'm going to say, you need to hire these guys that are going to do an assessment of your house and you'll be able to do those three things, right? So water, air, and EMF, and then you'll be able to make recommendations and more even help people install the things that they need to do. That's the kind of a full, full kit and implementation. Okay. That's amazing. So my next and sort of last question here is what would you want to see for people in my industry? And really you were to Fernanda when we are hoping clients who are really, you know, maybe it's a full remodel, maybe it's just redecorating, but what would you want to see or have us be aware of as we are working with people?

Fernanda:

So I think the first thing is being aware of their health, you know, the health that they have right now. So there are so many kids that already have health issues. So many elderly people, and, you know, old people like me that are already showing symptoms, which is we are, have already been exposed to an overload of toxins we're overloaded. So which means we need immediate attention. So when you're remodeling, I think it's very important to bring this, to have this conversation more often with contractors, which I find to be a little bit more difficult because they don't know, they don't know. And they only know, you know, we have been doing business for 30 years and that's how we know how to build. And they don't know how to deal with the manufacturer. Well, what if this dry wall doesn't last, as long as Eric was saying, as long as they are the ones, then the warranty is going to be on me.

Fernanda:

So educating the client on the options, you know, from the very beginning and let them make the decision. You know, I don't care about this, but at least the conversation started with us. So we will be the ones that are going to be telling them not what they need, but giving them the options based on what we know that could benefit them or their family in the future. So I think that's, that's my will be my dream right now is to have all of architects, interior designers and contractors, all on the same boat, all talking about this. So the homeowner would not feel like, well, do I trust the contractor said, it's fine. That's how everybody lived until now. Why do I need to pay more to have this dry wall? If I always lived in the house that had this other dry wall or this flooring. Right,

Erica:

Right. Yeah. So I was going to say, I think that's a really interesting point is just even now, man, it's going to be a delicate subject and line to walk. You don't want to like burst into someone's house as a non-medical professional and be like, tell me if you're feeling sick or like, what are your symptoms? But maybe figuring out a sensitive and appropriate way to begin that conversation. And you can say, I ha you know, maybe something along the lines of, in my experience, sometimes people have experienced headaches or brain fog or respiratory problems. Your kids have, you know, asthma, that kind of thing, and find a delicate and respectful way. Or maybe even asking if it's okay to ask, like some of those questions, I dunno, you have to, everyone has to feel it out for themselves. But I think drawing that line really clearly, because as you said, it was not clear for you, you, you, you had to reverse engineer the problem. So being able to almost in with those things and then letting them make the decisions.

Fernanda:

Yeah. So one of the ways that I find that it's easier it's instead of asking, we do a healthy home assessment, but it has nothing to do, like with your health in particular, but that's a great way to start the conversation like, Oh, would you know, before we started this design, would you please fill out this healthy home application assessment? And when they ask, why is that, you know, why do I need to tell you, you know, about my health while we, because we have seen some materials that are more toxic than others, and there are studies and there lots, lots of studies that back that information back up, that information that they can go to and that you can have handy that shows them that there are studies that have been done and here are some of the resources. And then once you do that, then they just start asking themselves questions.

Fernanda:

And the other thing, too, you're not there to mitigate that problem. Like the health problem, you're there to avoid that this problem gets worse by the products that you put in your home. Right. That's basically how I approach one of the things that we're exploring to first of all, it's absolutely, I think we're in the realm of educating the whole public until it becomes normal. So there's that, so this awareness is just common place. And then the next one that we're trying is, cause we're also having a little bit of that resistance from just dealing directly with the customer is approaching it more from if they've already got a holistic doctor, if they've already got a chiropractor, is they're not implementing these things in their home, obviously, but so fix these people and they go home to a toxic home. So we're working with them now and we'll see how that works out. But our ideas they're basically driving this and we're just implementing those measures under their direction as they're, you know, it's all between them and their health care provider or natural path doctor. Right.

Erica:

And I love that. And that is genius. And I, I love my natural paths. I've love my functional doctors, all those kinds of people, anyone working in cancer prevention, anyone,

Eric:

Yeah. It's already happened. Cause that's how we met the EMF guy that came to her house was from the doctor that was speaking at the event. So it's definitely working,

Erica:

Right. You don't necessarily think about the built environment industry and the naturopathic or homeopathic industry crossing paths, but that is definitely a connection I've been thinking about, harder about how to explore and how to work together. So that is great. And you know, keep doing that. That's

Eric:

Really good. Yeah.

Erica:

So, okay. I think that is just about it. You guys have provided such good info and from such a personal place. I appreciate that so much. And let's see here, is there anything that we haven't covered that you want anyone to know,

Fernanda:

Just thinking about the seven pillars of a healthy home, which starts with, as you say, you know, like it's water, air mold lighting, which is, you know, there's so many topics for us to talk about like lighting we had, even, we didn't even tell you in lighting, but just to start thinking about

Fernanda:

Small things that you can do to improving your health, or just moving towards a non-toxic leaving just by taking one action at a time. That's exactly it. And that is really the reason I named my business eco method interiors, because it's kind of a methodology approach where you look at the big picture and then pull in the pieces that make sense for you at any particular time, budget, design, scheme, style, that kind of thing. And so it's half art, half science and you kind of just think about what you can do now, what might you do later where the most appropriate places to begin. And so that is right in line with what I always like to say. So I'm glad we're on the same page and where is one place that our listeners can find you? So we have our website it's called live well, indoors.com, right?

Erica:

Dot com live well, indoors.com. And then you have something very generous for us here, which I will read now. It is. Okay. So you are wanting to extend the offer for a little free gift, which is going to be seven steps to detox your home and body. And it looks like that lives on that website as well. Live well, endorsed.com. And is that on any particular tab or resources or anything like that? Just on a front page, as soon as they land there, it's it's right there. And that just gives you an overall, it has some rest know, like some recipes for do it yourself and also has like a row idea of where it talks. Things are coming from what they're doing to our body and what you should be looking at. I think with staff, people can take immediately decide their path to a non toxic leaving. Okay. That's great. Well, thank you guys so much for taking the time to explain your story to everyone. And I love that you were so impassioned and really well set up. It was kind of like the, almost like a, like a blessing or like a silver lining that, that you guys had this experience because you're so well equipped to now and passion to help other people. So that's a wonderful outcome and I'm glad that you're doing it. So thank you so much for joining and I will catch you guys soon.

Fernanda:

Thank you so much.


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