Dr. Overberg's “Living with Environmental Illness or Chemical Sensitivity”.

I asked this lady to write her story, share it with all of you. Chemical Sensitivity is still a rather unknown disease. Here is the story:“When a Move Benefits.”
            Backstory – I have had Environmental Illness (EI), and other consequential illnesses since 1998, and moved into my first environmentally friendly home in 2004. This home was constructed exclusively with materials that I tested for compatibility prior to using.  The testing and building process took about 5 years.  The 2004 move took me from a home with two types of toxic molds, various other molds, and other environmental issues hazardous to me into a clean environment. At that time, I noticed a lift in my health that lasted about two months until I left the clean environment to attend a wedding out of town.  After that, a plateau resulted which lasted with ups and downs over the remaining 20 years in that home.  The plateau reached was a good quality of life so long as I practiced strict avoidance to incidents (anything that can cause a negative reaction) , which meant staying home bound with the ability to go outdoors, sometimes.

In 2019 having secured land in Maine, we designed a new home.  Over the four years from land purchase to move-in, I dreamt about life in my new bubble.  Like the current home I lived in, I tested all materials prior to their use for compatibility with my extensive list of incidents.  My father oversaw the build and he ensured that not one unapproved product was used from pouring the foundation to completion of the home. Watching from afar in NC, I wondered what the experience would be moving from one clean environment to another clean environment.  I rather anticipated that the newness and off-gassing of everything would be cause for concern and possibly a step back in health.  However, much to my delight, the opposite proved true! 

Looking at the move through an objective analysis, I wondered what could have been the reason.  The following were some potentials:

Prayer – the building of this home and my move was founded on a great deal of prayer both in my family as well as my church family – God answered all the prayers with a boost in settling in rather than having more daily issues to deal with!

External Environmental Factors:

Altitude change – altitude sickness always was an issue in the NC home.  Over the 25 years in the NC mountains, I averaged a blood oxygen level of 97%.  After moving I saw a new number – 100%!  Though the sample time is much smaller, the energy proof is there.   The Maine home was about 1100 feet above sea level lower, while still being in the mountains,whereas the NC home was 3100 feet above sea level. 

No near neighbors – the NC home was in a community full of loving and caring neighbors.  Nonetheless, products used in their yards and dryers at most of the houses were incidents for me.  The closest neighbor in Maine is over 1000 feet away. 

Molds – the house located in the NC mountains is also part of a rain forest with a high degree of atmospheric mold. 

Weather – cold weather is something my body thrives in, and thus far it has not topped 60 degrees in Maine.

Water change – both houses use well water with filters, but obviously the chemical composition is different.  The same applies to foods as my diet is basically the same but with foods grown in different soil compositions.

Psychological benefits - seeing a long dreamed for move realized and knowing the love, care, prayers, and sacrifices that went into making it a possibility. 

Kill switches – there was a lot more attention to the Electric Magnetic Fields (EMF) aspects in this house so though both homes have kill switches, the ones here in Maine kill (turn off the electricity) on all sides (including above) whereas in NC the bedroom kill switches kill power only in the walls (not the above or below). 

Off gassing – the oven, dishwasher, washer, dryer, and fridge all were in place and used for about four and half months prior to my arrival.  Similarly, much of the cabinetry and the countertops were also in place for several months prior to my arrival.  During the off-gassing period,the ERV (see below) was also working.

Epson salt baths – more frequent basis here in Maine.

            But if you were to ask me what I think is the reason, in addition to the prayers & God’s outpouring of grace, it would be the ERV (Energy Recovery Ventilator) by LifeBreath.  We installed model 177.  I am extremely sensitive to dust and the NC home air filtration system was tied into the A/C system so it only ran automatically during the hot months.  But I think it is more than just the reduction in dust exposure.  We have the ERV set to the “pull in outdoor air” setting.  When it was set to the“recycle air” setting, the off gassing caused black floaters in my eyes.  But on the “pull in outdoor air” setting, the air is continually filtered through so the parts per million (ppm) buildup of the off gassing “newness” is prevented from compounding.  We run the LifeBreath for a few hours several times during the day… whenever the black floaters start, I know it’s time to turn it on for a bit.  The minimum amount of time to see the floaters go away, for me, is 20 minutes. 

            As a challenge to whether it is the ERV that makes such a difference, I present two counter cases:

The counter case of the upstairs in the new home.  I’m currently unable to go into the upstairs, as even opening the door causes immediate issues.  The upstairs is a completely separate area built over the same time period with tested materials, with exterior only access, and as minimum as humanly possible air transfer between the two levels.  The other construction differences are fewer windows, lower ceiling, and the presence of water-based insulation behind the drywall, and the flooring, which is sealed hardwood rather than concrete.  It does not have an ERV and the “newness” of the drywall, healthy paint, bathroom materials,etc. is overwhelming to my system. 

The counter case of workman cent.  When we moved in the shower needed grouting.  When the worker arrived, his scent was completely intolerable, so my mom and I left.  My dad put the ERV on, while the worker worked and left it on all day.  At the end of the day, we returned.  Not only was there no workman odor, but I was actually able to use the bathroom he’d worked in!  This was a shocking “first” given that in the North Carolina house, such a scent would leave me sequestered for 3-5 days while the house aired out. Praise the Lord!


We’re pulling in extremely fresh air that has no discernible odors or chemicals from neighboring properties. 

Though they are about 10-12’ apart both horizontally and vertically, the intake of the ERV is on the same side of the house as the dryer vent.  It only took twice for me to realize; I cannot run both at the same time or else the dryer smell overwhelms the ERV.  This fact gives me a bit of concern for those living in areas without scent-free outdoor air.

Frequent cleaning – after about 3-4 weeks, the ERV stops smelling fresh like having the windows open (when there is no pollen) smells fresh.  We’ve realized that’s the indicator for us that it’s time to clean the unit. 

Once installed during the house build, the ERV was run on a mix of “fresh air intake” (20 minutes) and “recirculation” (40 minutes) to prevent the surfaces from absorbing the airborne scents and VOCs.  In hindsight, cleaning the filters more often would have been helpful.

            The original thermostat on the ERV was wi-fi and it was replaced with a hardwired model to exclude all wi-fi from inside the house. 

How is drron? Great, all three of us arrived this Saturday in Seacrest West, Florida. That is on the beach in the Florida Panhandle. We took three days to arrive here for the 4pm check-in time.Thursday, we left at 3pm, it took that long to pack Jax’s stuff. We made it to Alexandria, LA, and the next morning we visited Fort Randolph and Fort Buhlowon the Red River. Walking at the forts we encountered this little snapper turtle. In New Orleans I got to sniff another heavenly magnolia flower, and then Jax and I encountered these stunning yellow Cannas on our walk.   Finally, we arrived at our home for the coming week. 

I schedule appointments only by phone! Consultations are in person, by phone, or My time is reserved for existing clients and their referrals. When you contact me, follow-up if you have not heard from me! Phone calls always get a quicker response. 972-816-5892 or

Please Note: Above statements are not written by Health Realizations nor the opinion of Health Realizations

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