Green Tea Conversations
Embracing Green Building and Bio Geometry with Carrigan Curtis
January 20, 2019
Meet Carrigan Curtis of Carrigan Curtis Design Builds. Curtis is a residential designer and a licensed general contractor with advanced training in green building and bio geometry. She is also a certified building biology advocate. Learn about the concept of building biology and making houses healthy for occupants. Curtis shares her experiences that led to her present field and practice. She also touches on electromagnetic radiation and some of the symptoms we may face. For more information, visit

[00:00:03.860] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Good morning and welcome to Green Tea Conversations, the radio show that delves into the pages of Natural Awakenings magazine to bring you local experts who share progressive ideas and the latest information and insights needed so you can lead your best life. I'm your host, Candi Broeffle, publisher of the Twin Cities edition of Natural Awakenings magazine, and I've had the honor to meet hundreds of highly qualified professionals in the area areas of natural medicine, sustainable living and healthy relationships. And I wanted to find a way to help them expand their reach, to share their expertise.
Green Tea Conversations is vehicle to do just that. Today in the studio, we have Carrigan Curtis of Carrigan Curtis Design Builds. Carrigan is a residential designer and a licensed general contractor with advanced training and green building and bio geometry. She is also a certified building biology advocate, which we are going to talk a bit more about in just a minute. Welcome to the show, Carrigan.
[00:01:05.100] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
Thank you so much, Candi.
[00:01:07.030] - Candi Broeffle, Host
It is a great pleasure to have you on the show today, and I know that we have a lot of things to discuss, so let's just get right into it and start off by asking what is building biology?
[00:01:18.820] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
Building Biology is actually an Institute in the United States, and they teach about healthy green building. And so it's going beyond green building and making sure that the occupants of a house are are in an environment that is actually healthy. And there are so many elements in building a house that can end up being unhealthy for the occupants. We want to make sure that all of those elements are addressed and cleaned up, or they start off being in a way that is supportive to the occupants of the house.
Building Biology looks at the community. It looks at the health of a house, the health of the community. It is really a holistic approach to construction and to living environments.
[00:02:20.910] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And so when we talk about the environment, the health of the environment, the health of the building, a building really actually is a living, a living thing. It really is as airflow. You really have to take a look at all aspects of the building itself, but also then where the building is
[00:02:39.920] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
[00:02:40.470] - Candi Broeffle, Host
[00:02:41.570] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
Yeah. There are so many systems in a house that all have to behave to certain degrees of care for the occupants. And when any one of those systems starts failing, it can set off a domino effect within the entire house and the health of the occupants. That can be devastating. And that's what we want to try to avoid in construction. And I know all builders out there want to avoid that. And the issue is that building codes and construction techniques, materials, you know, everything from the glue that is put down underneath your floors.
We are not looking at those things for chemical ingredients, right? And we're not looking at those how they operate once the homeowner is sometimes in the property, humans actually create more moisture in a house than any other source or cooking or breathing or showering creates huge amounts of moisture, and that can have a very devastating effect on a house that might have one of its construction techniques a little vulnerable. So those are the things we have to look at again. It's a holistic view of housing.
[00:03:59.430] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And it's not a simple. It's not a simple process to look at. I mean, there's a lot to it.
[00:04:04.890] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
There it is.
[00:04:06.530] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And when you talk about really wanting to make sure that the houses are healthy for the occupants, you actually had experience with this yourself. And you wrote about it in the January 2019 issue of Natural Awakenings in an article you wrote called Getting Beyond Illness: Lessons of a Personal Journey, in which you shared a bit about your own health struggles as it related to a home that you live in.
[00:04:30.210] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
[00:04:31.370] - Candi Broeffle, Host
So why don't you share a little bit about that with us?
[00:04:33.960] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
Sure. I've always had issues with mold. I've been mold-sensitive off and on throughout my life due to exposure. But around three years ago, I was pretty healthy and my sensitivities had pretty much calmed down. I looked at a house to rent about three years ago, and it was February, I believe, when I first looked at it, I went through the entire house. I did not smell any mold and thought I was good to go. It was in a nice location. It was what I was looking for.
So I went ahead and signed a lease. And then as soon as temperature started raising, rising, I started smelling mold. And this was just shortly after I moved in. I moved in in March. And then by mid April, I started to smell mold, and it set off a huge chain of events, including getting extremely sick.
[00:05:37.750] - Candi Broeffle, Host
So one of the things that we've talked about prior is the fact that mold you said dormant in the winter. So oftentimes when you're looking at a home or you're looking to purchase a home in the wintertime. If there is a mold issue in there, yeah.
[00:05:55.660] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
Unless you see it, you most likely won't know it's there because the mold spores are not active in the winter. And if those mold spores that we smell, that's what's triggering our nose to know that something is moldy or even even a musty smell will indicate a possibility of more mold growth and just an average amount the outdoor environment has mold in it. And that's how you test the old. Do you compare the outdoor environment to the indoor environment? If the indoor environment is actually higher in the levels of mold that the outdoor environment is, then you know you have a problem. It shouldn't be higher.
[00:06:34.700] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Okay. So were your own personal journey and what you went through. What were some of the symptoms that you were? You experienced.
[00:06:42.350] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
Well, once I started smelling mold, I also started feeling a lot of fatigue. And there were a few days when I if I had spent too much time in the house, I would sleep the entire day. The next day, I couldn't get out of bed. I was so exhausted. And I was basically kind of like this numb knocked-out kind of sleep. I also started getting so I started having chronic fatigue. I started also suffering from fibromyalgia, so mysterious pains inside your body. I've since come to the understanding that a lot of that has to do with the toxins that are building up in your body and your body is not being able to eliminate them properly.
And so once I was able to start eliminating those toxins, the mold and other things like that, I started on that path to get healthy again. But it took a good two years before I was even over the hump of not feeling extremely tired, extremely sick. I couldn't digest my food anymore. I was eating are 12oz of green smoothie in the morning, 12oz of green smoothie in the afternoon. And every couple of days I would have meet and I was still gaining weight.
[00:08:04.320] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Oh, my goodness.
[00:08:05.550] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
Yeah. So that was a real
[00:08:09.580] - Candi Broeffle, Host
[00:08:10.760] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
Indicator. Right. And that was one of the first things I found was that my stomach was extending quite a bit. Within a month of me living there, I had an extended stomach. I was suffering from inflammation. There's just so many symptoms. And one of the main reasons why there can be so many symptoms and different from person to person is because mold is an immune suppressant. And so as soon as your immune system goes down, you're now open to anything that comes your way, basically.
And so depending on what your body already has a weakness to or what is in the environment that you're living, you can get one thing or then maybe you get something else for me. Major digestive digestive problems, major chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia things like that.
[00:09:04.870] - Candi Broeffle, Host
What about, like, memory problems? Did you have any memory problems or focus issues?
[00:09:10.340] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
I have not found that mole causes necessarily focus issues. This gets into another whole realm. And what the hard thing about environmental illness is is that one thing builds on another. Right. So the mold suppresses my immune system. Once my immune system is suppressed, I'm vulnerable to all kinds of other things. Electromagnetic radiation causes another whole set of possible illnesses, and it can cause dizziness, brain fog, lack of focus. The list goes on and on that's another whole list. Environmental toxins, chemicals, pesticides, herbicides like roundup. They will create another whole set of possible illnesses.
And then you compound these. So even though I don't know if it was really the mold causing brain fog and lack of ability to think clearly, I know that I became electrically sensitive as well. So on top of having mold poisoning, now, I was having coitus in my ears, and I was hearing strange buzzing noises all the time, and that would clog my memory, and it would clog my brain and my focus. And it was basically I was hearing electrical buzzing like electromagnetic radiation. I was actually listening to it, and I could see a direct result from if I used my cell phone too much the next day, the buzzing would be really bad.
[00:10:50.190] - Candi Broeffle, Host
So we have talked about electromagnetic radiation and people hear about it. I want to get into this a little bit more in just a bit because I think that there's kind of a lack of understanding of what it is. I know there is even on my part. So I'm curious is to learn more about it as well. So when we come back, let's take a look at electromagnetic radiation and kind of some of the symptoms that we may experience and what we can do to help reduce that.
We're talking to Carrigan Curtis of Carrigan Curtis Design Build. And when we come back, we're going to find out about some of the additional dangers that may be lurking in our homes. And, more importantly, how we might mitigate the issues. For more information or to read Natural Awakenings online, visit Naturaltwincities com. You can find a podcast of this show at on iTunes and anywhere you get your podcasts.
Welcome back to Green Tea Conversations, where we delve into the pages of Natural Awakenings magazine and talk to the experts who share their expertise on natural health with you. I'm your host, Candi Broeffle, and today we're talking with Carrigan Curtis of Carrigan Curtis Design Builds. And we are discussing some of the environmental issues that are in our home that may adversely affect our health and well-being. So Carrigan, when we last left or when we we were talking about electromagnetic radiation and what are some of the causes of electromagnetic radiation?
[00:12:30.800] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
[00:12:31.690] - Candi Broeffle, Host
You can call those EMRs, correct.
[00:12:33.940] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
Right? Yeah. EMR stands for electromagnetic radiation. And there's a huge spectrum of frequencies that encapsulate electromagnetic radiation. We've got non-ionizing radiation and ionizing radiation, and the ionizing radiation is like, you go and get X-rays.
[00:12:57.520] - Candi Broeffle, Host
[00:12:57.970] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
And that is a known carcinogen. We know that that causes issues if you're exposed to ionizing radiation for long periods of time, that's why we cover ourselves when we get X-rays. Right? Non-ionizing radiation is everything from microwave frequencies, radio frequencies, and also the light spectrum. So the colors and the light that we actually see are included in the electromagnetic radiation spectrum of non-ionizing radiation. And so most people think that, oh, well, all that non-ionizing radiation, it's just like light. We see that should be not harmful.
However, there are thousands upon thousands of studies that show that microwave and radio frequencies can be damaging to human health. And that's kind of where we find issue not only in our homes. But on our bodies, because people carry cell phones on their bodies, we bring them very close to our heads and your

[00:14:16.660] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Leave them on stand at night.
[00:14:17.770] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
Exactly. And they are emitting and receiving electromagnetic radiation. So they're microwave frequencies.
[00:14:27.600] - Candi Broeffle, Host
So what are some of the symptoms that somebody might you said earlier that you were hearing or you head Tonitis we're hearing the sounds of the radiation?
[00:14:39.580] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
[00:14:40.650] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And what are some other symptoms that people might experience with this?
[00:14:46.090] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
Electromagnetic radiation causes brain fog. It can also create digestive problems. And that's because humans are electrical beings. The way that our brains work is through electrical pulses, the level of that electrical pulse that would go through our brain. Is it's such a low level in comparison to manmade frequencies or manmade radiation that we really have no defense for the frequencies coming into our bodies through microwave frequencies, through microwave radiation. And so as those frequencies pass through our bodies, it can interrupt, disrupt, interfere with all kinds of things it can do with our own electrical pulses.
And so when the brain is getting ready to say, okay, I just ate digest the food all of a sudden that information does not follow through. The electrical pulses in our brain have been disturbed enough, so that that information doesn't get down. That's where a lot of these illnesses are coming from that are associated with EMRs. Is that it's disturbing our own electrical system enough so that we don't process properly anymore.
[00:16:06.640] - Candi Broeffle, Host
So the human body is a very complicated thing. And there are so many things that could be attributed to as well. But if people are having these problems, it is definitely worth taking a look at. How can I reduce this? How can I eliminate it? So what are some things that people can do?
[00:16:26.910] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
So the first steps in reducing your exposure to EMRs is number one. Use your phone on speakerphone. Don't put it up to your head. You'll find in your manual that comes along with your phone, that it even says, Keep your phone a certain distance away from your head. And that's in every single cell phone manual, you will find that use it on speakerphone so it can be away from your head. Or use wireless, not wireless. Don't use wireless, wired headphones. And the best option for that. There's air headphones.
[00:17:05.220] - Candi Broeffle, Host
[00:17:06.590] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
So the wires don't actually come all the way to your head. It's just a tube of air between where the wire stop and your ears. So that's a good alternative. Another really important aspect to address for people's homes are portable telephones. The base station for a portable telephone has as much or more power. Then your router, your Ethernet router, right?
[00:17:37.700] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Oh, my goodness.
[00:17:38.440] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
ne that's creating WiFi in your house. So in your house, the two most important things to deal with is your WiFi router and any portable telephones. Now, Internet works just as good on an Ethernet cord, as it does on a wireless router. And most all routers can be converted to just putting the Internet through the lines. And there's actually something. And I don't know if I can mention what it is. It's called a T link, and it can actually turn your electrical outlets into Ethernet cords so you can plug your router into a T link, and then all your your Internet connections can go through wires instead of being wireless.
This is a huge step in reducing radiation in your house.
[00:18:30.640] - Candi Broeffle, Host
So is this something that's relatively new, or has this been around?
[00:18:34.350] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
It's been around for a little while, a few years, at least. And it's a great way to solve the problem with WiFi in the house.
[00:18:42.760] - Candi Broeffle, Host
So removing the portable telephone and replacing them with a regular plugin telephone.
[00:18:50.010] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
Right. A regular corded landline.
[00:18:52.630] - Candi Broeffle, Host
If you is also a good idea to always have in your house because if your electricity goes out, your telephone will still work.
[00:18:59.290] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
Exactly. Yeah.
[00:19:00.780] - Candi Broeffle, Host
So replacing that and then also replacing making your Ethernet into
[00:19:06.810] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
making your WiFi that comes from your Wi-Fi modem. A router turning that into Ethernet. So it's an Ethernet cord that goes from your WiFi router goes into your electrical outlet, and then it can run through the electrical outlets to your computer.
[00:19:29.000] - Candi Broeffle, Host
That's interesting. I'm going to take a look at that and see what that is. I'm going to learn more about that on your website. I found this code interesting that the EPA States at 65% of our buildings are polluted with sometimes as much as six to ten times higher levels of pollution than outdoor city air. Considering how much time we spend in our homes, especially in Minnesota, with extended cold seasons, this can greatly impact our health. And so when we come back from the break, I want to get into that a bit more, too.
So taking a look at our indoor pollutants and how we might reduce that. But to learn more about Carrigan's work or to schedule a free initial consultation, they can go to where?
[00:20:13.140] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
My website is. Carrigancurtis.Com
[00:20:17.070] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Okay, so Carrigancurtis.Com when we come back, we're going to continue talking with Carrigan about indoor environments and what we can do to improve its quality. To read The Natural Awakenings online, visit NaturalTwincities.Com. You can find a podcast of this show on on iTunes or anywhere you get your podcasts. You're listening to Green Tea Conversations on AM950, The Progressive Voice of Minnesota. We will be back in just a bit.
[00:21:25.810] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Welcome back to Green Tea Conversations, where we delve into the pages of Natural Awakenings magazine to talk to the experts to share their expertise on natural health with you. I'm your host, Candi Broeffle, and today we're talking with Carrigan Curtis of Carrigan Curtis Design Belts. And we're discussing some of the environmental issues in our home that might adversely affect our health and well-being. So before we left, we were talking about EMRs, and I know there's something that you would like to also share with us that we didn't get in in the last segment.
What is it that you were wanting to share? Something that you had forgotten?
[00:22:02.060] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
Yeah, well, you were talking about moving into indoor air quality, and it happens to affect something that is another one of those compounding effects where you can have multiple issues, all creating things like asthma and heart palpitations, which make it hard for you to breathe. So even though you may think that the only problem is because your indoor air quality is bad or that you have allergies or asthma, those things can be compounded by EMRs, which have been shown to create symptoms like asthma when you're becoming overly sensitive to them.
[00:22:46.550] - Candi Broeffle, Host
So one of the things that I've seen are these little things that you can put on your cell phone to help reduce EMRs.
[00:22:58.360] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
Well, there are two sides to that, and one is about subtle energy, and one is about physical energy. Right. The little things that you put on your phone will not solve the problems with the physical frequencies that are running through your cell phone, and you will still be bombarded by them. However, on a subtle energy level. And bio geometry gets into this quite a bit. There are ways to help you cope with those frequencies, and the little things that you put on your telephone can sometimes help you cope with the frequencies.
Bio geometry has a phone sticker, and I've seen stickers that have the tree of life on them or the flower of life. Those kind of things are the tool that aligns are subtle energies, our emotions, our mental facilities, things like that with something that is beneficial energetically for us.
[00:24:08.930] - Candi Broeffle, Host
But that doesn't stop the fact that pulsing WiFi or your telephone pulsing, like if you listen to your phone with an electromagnetic frequency meter, it will sound every once in a while. Like, you'll get that sound if you've got one that has audio on it.
[00:24:34.310] - Candi Broeffle, Host
[00:24:34.870] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
And that pulsing is something like if you were standing next to the class bully and he had his fist right up next to your arm in every few seconds he was hitting you. How would you personally react to that? You'd always be kind of on guard and putting your arm up and trying to not get hit anymore. Right. Well, that's how our energy system reacts to electromagnetic frequencies. And so we're constantly there's a system inside of us that's constantly on guard. And so those little stickers can sometimes help us cope with that on-guard flight or fight response.
[00:25:17.190] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Okay. So really, just getting some distance between you and the phone through the use of microphone or the use of the headphones and also using your speakerphone instead.
[00:25:30.590] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
[00:25:31.980] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Tell us a little bit or share with us. What are some of the indoor pollutants that we might not immediately think of?
[00:25:39.680] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
Sure. Well, your wood-framed windows, if they are of recent purchase, will have pesticides in the wood. And so those pesticides do something called off-gassing. And that means that over time, the gases that come from that chemical will be released into the atmosphere. And that atmosphere now happens to be your house. And so if you are chemically or pesticide herbicide sensitive, you're going to have to make sure your windows are properly sealed and there is no off-gassing. Now that brings us to the next off-gassing issue.
And that is varnish. Paul Urethane paint can all off-gas. And you may have heard of things like low VOC or no VOC products. Well, that's great. Except for sometimes when we say we don't want VOCs anymore, they substitute it for something called semi VOC or semi-volatile organic compounds. And that's what VOC stands for volatile organic compounds. They haven't really solved the problem completely. They've just changed the toxin. And we're not looking at those other toxins now. So there's a whole range that you need to look at with paints and varnishes.
Your carpet will if you have new carpet that could be off-gassing formaldehyde, your cabinets can be off-gassing formaldehyde because formaldehyde is used in glues. And so anything that has glue in it, well, more likely have formaldehyde.
[00:27:26.540] - Candi Broeffle, Host
So what are some alternatives that we can do or?
[00:27:32.160] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
Well, I always recommend hardwood floors, carpets in a house or one of the worst things you can do. And the reason why is if you think you're getting your carpet clean by one, pass over with your vacuum once a week, you're going to have to rethink the vacuuming process. They've done studies, and it actually takes ten crossings over every square inch of your carpet on a regular basis. And I think that's more than once a week to even get it close to clean. And even then, it's not clean at harbors bacteria at Harbors small mites and things like that that the vacuum just doesn't have enough power to get at.
And then the amount of chemicals that are put in a carpet just to produce it can sometimes add up to over 130 chemicals to create synthetic carpet. So I do always recommend hardwood floors, and you can do a water-based finish on them. Or you can do a wax, which is even a cleaner,
[00:28:38.110] - Candi Broeffle, Host
even organic

[00:28:39.890] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
to deal with that area rugs are a great solution because an area rug can be taken outside and beaten over a fence or something to get the dust and things out.
Sunlight also is a cleanser. And so if you leave it out in the sun over the course of a day, it will help with the bacteria that might be coming into an area rug. And so you you're given a lot more opportunities to clean an area rug than a wall-to-wall carpet.
[00:29:10.480] - Candi Broeffle, Host
So really kind of going back to how things were done and taking those rugs out and really taking care of them. So let's get into one of the other things that can cause indoor air pollution is clutter. How does clutter impact?
[00:29:25.160] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
Yeah, well, every bit of clutter inside of a house is going to gather dust. And inside that dust are all the particles of the things that have been off-gassing in your house. Right. So that dust has pesticides in it. It has herbicides. If your neighbor uses roundup per se, right. Something like that, it's going to have dust of those products in it. And so now, if you've got clutter, it just makes it that much harder to clean up that dust. And a lot of times that dust will sit in the corners and on boxes or products for long periods of time.
And anytime you open a window, then in the air, you think, oh, I'm getting all this nice fresh air, and it's blowing right across all your diet.
[00:30:10.430] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Across to your desk and spreading it throughout the house
[00:30:12.980] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
and into your lungs. Exactly.
[00:30:15.020] - Candi Broeffle, Host
So what's the best way to find out about the health of your home? Like, is there testing that's done? How do people kind of engage to find out where they might be having some issues?
[00:30:28.640] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
Right? There are multiple people who can do different types of testing. Right. But to get an overall view, that's something that I can come into a house with my
[00:30:45.840] - Candi Broeffle, Host
building biology
[00:30:46.990] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
Thank you. Building biology training. I can come in and give you an overall look at what is going on in the house? I can do a site review I can do. From my construction experience, I can look at the construction aspects of your house. Do you have things that have defects in just the way the house was constructed? But for things like mold testing, I would definitely have an expert come in. I'm not an expert in mold testing, so there's different people to rely on for different pieces of this.
But for the overall view, that's something I would definitely come in and be able to help someone with.
[00:31:29.130] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And I imagine you're very connected in that area. So if people had questions, they could go to your website, they could engage you. You offer a free initial consultation.
[00:31:40.530] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
I do. I would come in. I would take a look. If you do have a severe mold problem, I wouldn't come into your house. I would have someone that would be able to be fully masked to come in and give us their opinion of how far that's gone. And that's when it's really bad. And you're already extremely ill.
[00:32:01.160] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Well. You'Ve already had that issue yourself. So you're not going to expose yourself to that.
[00:32:06.090] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
[00:32:07.420] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And so how do people get a hold of you in order to do that?
[00:32:12.120] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
The best way is just to give me a call. 612-282-3470.
[00:32:17.640] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Say that again a little bit slower.
[00:32:19.750] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
Sorry. 612-282-3470. And you can just give me a call, and I'd be happy to talk to you a bit about what kind of problems you're experiencing or what you're thinking might be an issue. And then setting up that initial consultation will give us a chance to really take a little bit deeper look at what's going on and what experts you pass my general knowledge that you would need to have over to your house.
[00:32:48.340] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Okay. Now I know your website is beautiful.
[00:32:51.400] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
Thank you.
[00:32:52.070] - Candi Broeffle, Host
You have beautiful photos of the work that you've done on other people's home, and you also have a tab that's specific to green building or green healthy, healthy homes. Or so people can go there and also take a look at different aspects of their home, what they might want to explore as far as indoor air quality.
[00:33:12.370] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
[00:33:14.380] - Candi Broeffle, Host
So one of the things that we were talking about earlier, and we're going to get into more even in our next section in our next segment is mold. And so we're going to delve a little bit further into that.
But one of the things that we only have a couple of minutes here to talk about this or about a minute. But I'm wondering. One of the things that you shared with me is how people can sometimes get sheetrock dust?
[00:33:40.810] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
Right in their nasal cavity. This can be a pretty bad problem if you are staying in a house undergoing a remodel and there isn't proper dust protection up short exposure to dust like sheetrock dust won't necessarily have a huge effect. But long term exposure to sheetrock dust can be trapped into your nasal cavity. And then if you are exposed to mold at the same time or shortly afterwards.
[00:34:15.280] - Candi Broeffle, Host
It'S just going to help grow that right there in your nasal cabin mode. You're going to talk about that in just a minute. Okay.
[00:34:22.810] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
Sounds good.
[00:34:23.620] - Candi Broeffle, Host
So when we come back, we're going to continue talking with Carrigan Curtis about indoor air environments and what we can do to improve its quality. To read Natural Awakenings online, visit NaturalTwinCities.Com. You can find a podcast of this show on AM950Radio.Com on iTunes. Anywhere you get your podcast, you're listening to Green Tea Conversations on AM950, The Progressive Voice of Minnesota.
Welcome back to Green Tea Conversations, where we delve into the pages of Natural Awakenings magazine and talk to the experts who share their expertise on natural help with you. I'm your host, Candi Broeffle, and today we're talking with Carrigan Curtis of Carrigan Curtis Design Build. She has been sharing her experiences and expertise as a residential designer, licensed general contractor and a building biology advocate. Thank you again for being with us today Carrigan.

[00:35:24.720] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
Thank you. So when we left, we were talking about mold, and in particular, we were talking about having if you're around sheetrock dust during a remodeling project or a new build and how sometimes that can actually get lodged into our nostrils. And if we're exposed to mold, it actually
[00:35:47.260] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
Actually starts growing inside your nasal cavity.
[00:35:50.450] - Candi Broeffle, Host
That sounds horrible.
[00:35:52.340] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
Mold needs food, warmth, and moisture. And you get that sheetrock dust up into your nose, and you've got pretty much all of what it needs to grow.
[00:36:03.990] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And so how would somebody know?
[00:36:07.400] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
Well, difficulty with breathing and continued getting cold over and over again and not knowing why you're getting sick all the time can possibly be an indicator. You know, any kind of nasal congestion on a chronic basis could possibly be it. You know, I'm definitely not a medical doctor, and I'm not trying to say anything about how to know or diagnose what you might have it, but some of these things can be causes of medical problems.

[00:36:47.910] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And you said earlier when we were talking that you actually had a client who had this happen.
[00:36:53.950] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
I did. Yeah. She was exposed to sheetrock dust over a long period of time and also exposed to mold. And years later, she ended up having to have surgery to remove what was causing all the problems with chronic nasal congestion and things like that. And she did use surgery to remove it. I'm sure that there's there's healthier ways to do that that you wouldn't necessarily have to go all the way into surgery. But it is something to definitely be concerned about and work on mitigating in your own home.
[00:37:35.040] - Candi Broeffle, Host
How is she doing today?

[00:37:36.510] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
She's doing great. Good. And one of my favorite clients.
[00:37:42.530] - Candi Broeffle, Host
So one of the things that we do hear a lot about is actually mold. And I think especially as we come into spring and we're getting the well, hopefully we'll be coming into spring soon. Right. We'll be getting the snow and sometimes the flooding that happens here in Minnesota and after either from the melting or from severe storms, that type of thing. And so people will have issues that happen in their homes. Let's just talk a minute about if you were to have a flooding situation, say something backed up in your basement or you did have flood from a storm.
What should people do right away?
[00:38:27.430] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
Well, right away, anything that got wet should be removed, of course. And there's plenty of companies out there that are really good at storm damage or flooding. What I find, however, for mold issues is that it's been a long-term leak that is mostly where the big mold problems are coming from. Our houses are built in ways that there are cavities that can air out not so much in the outside walls these days in older homes. Yes, your outside walls would air out quite easily in newer homes because of very strict code requirements, especially in Minnesota.
We have such strict codes in Minnesota that we almost are building green just by meeting code while taking a class at one point on green building, the teacher was laughing because he's like, Well, you guys already know all this, right? Because you're in Minnesota, it's just we're very careful about our building codes here in Minnesota, and that's great. Except for that, we're building tighter and tighter homes, and so that airflow from outside to inside doesn't exist anymore. And so if you do get moisture caught in an outside wall, then you need to open up that wall, make sure the moisture or affected items like insulation and wood from inside the wall gets taken care of.
But most of the time, when I find mold, it's a long-term leak, either a long-term roof leak or a long-term plumbing leak.
[00:40:03.540] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And so it is all mold created equal.

[00:40:06.660] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest

Not at all. There are so many types of mold, and some of them are worse for your health than others. I would say, however, that any mold on a long term basis is going to be damaging to your health, and whether you know it or not, I mean, a lot of times, even in my situation, I was affected at a much higher level than other people in my house. And so you can have a house of four people, and maybe only one of them can be affected by the mold or at least show visible symptoms at this time.
What happens with most environmental issues is that some people have a higher tolerance in their body structure, meaning they have a stronger immune system. They have things that are already in place that are stronger than, say, someone else in the household. And so maybe only one person has immediate, obvious symptoms.
[00:41:08.110] - Candi Broeffle, Host
That has to be kind of hard, though, too, if you're the only person in the home who's sick and everybody else seems to be fine. Yeah, it would seem that people would kind of question whether or not there was really anything happening.
[00:41:20.040] - Carrigan Curtis, Guest
Yeah, definitely. That happens to a lot of people, especially with EMR problems with people who are getting electromagnetically sensitive. That is very often something that only one or two people in the household are showing symptoms of. And most of the time, they're not showing the same symptoms, which gets even more confusing, because, again, the way our body is already operating will have an effect on how we show symptoms. What are our existing weaknesses for me? I have something called Hashimoto's disease, which is thyroid autoimmune disease that I've had it since I was a little kid.
So I'm going to be the Canary in the coal mine. I'm going to be the first in my house. It's going to show any symptoms because my immune system is already compromised.
[00:42:10.120] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And really, in your experience, you were the only one in the house who was showing.
I was the only one that got physically sick where, you know, chronic fatigue and fiber. Myalgia things like that. The weight gain issue, the bloated stomach, and the inflammation also affected my husband and my daughter, but they both have much stronger immune system than I do. And so the results weren't as long-term and as devastating as they were for me.

Okay, so and I know we have talked about this before as well, but it really is. If people are having some of these symptoms, really talked to someone about it, contact you and they can reach you again by going to your website, which is Or they can call you and your number again, 612-282-3470.
[00:43:05.550]  Carrigan Curtis, Guest
And if you are very sick, there's, one thing I would recommend is going to a functional medicine doctor. That would be the best way to go to start the process of healing.

Thank you for being with us today, Carrigan. It was a pleasure having you here.

 Carrigan Curtis, Guest
Thank you for having me.

[00:42:10.120] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And thank you for joining the conversation as we awaken the Natural Health to read the online edition of Natural Awakenings or to check out our complete online calendar of events, visit NaturalTwin cities.Com. You've been listening to Green Tea conversations on AM950 and I'm wishing you a lovely day!