Dr Oz: Health Hazards at Home: Living Room, Kitchen & Bedroom

Doctor Oz did a segment on Health Hazards at Home in your Living Room, Kitchen and Bedroom.  Do you know what could be hazardous in your home?  Household Heath Hazards

Health Hazards in Living Rooms

Dr Oz said that carpet is what worries him in living rooms.  Wall to wall carpets often have fungus, mold and pollen.  In addition, formaldehyde can be released by carpets and formaldehyde is a toxic gas which can be dangerous especially to kids and children who are close to the ground.  NASA found that Spider Plants and Ferns are great at cleaning the air because the plant’s foliage and roots can absorb carbon monoxide and formaldehyde, and remove them from our systems and homes.

Health Hazards in Kitchens

Dr Oz said that there are hazards in our kitchens which can increase diseases and complications.  For example, did you know that you should never store potatoes or onion in the refrigerator?  If you put potatoes and onions in the fridge, they get more sugary, and then when you heat them up, it turns into a chemical which may contribute towards getting Cancer.  Also, meat should not be stored on the top shelf in the refrigerator, because it can drip juice onto shelves underneath.  Lastly, eggs should not be stored on the door because the refrigerator door varies the most in temperature because people open the door all the time.  Plus, other chemicals can drop onto the eggs if you store them on the fridge door, and egg shells are porous – so if you spill juice from raw meat, it can be very bad for you.

Health Hazards in Bedroom

Dr Oz said that if you tuck your top bed sheet in tightly, you can get tendinitis in your ankles or other leg pain – so loosen your top sheet before you get into bed.


  1. Nalliah Thayabharan says

    Kitchen fans are very important to maintain good indoor air quality, since they remove odours, excess moisture, grease, combustion products and pollutants from cooking.

    A typical builder model kitchen fans are rated about 200 cubic feet per minute (CFM) of exhaust and is generally adequate to eliminate excess moisture and odours. Manufacturers provide air delivery ratings, but actual flows vary depending on how much restriction is created by filters, ducts, grills, screens, and louvers.

    Width of the kitchen fans should be same as width of the stove, and should be installed less than 30 in above the stove top. 20 in deep kitchen fans pickup from the front area of the stove much better than 17 in deep kitchen fans.

    Low profile designer kitchen fans and kitchen fans combined with microwave oven are less effective because they cover less stove area. The performance of these kitchen fans does not improve even when fans are installed only 15 inches from the stove top.

    Manufacturers recommend correct size smooth galvanized ducts and short duct runs to maintain the rated flow. Ducts should be secured with screws and hangers. Duct joints should be taped with long life foil tape.

    Though urban Home owners like low wattage fluorescent lights and low flush toilets, when it comes to kitchen, they like bigger refrigerators and bigger kitchen fans which typically exhaust more than 500 CFM.

    Most Home owners are not aware that these bigger kitchen fans create depressurization which causes back drafting (pulling fumes back into the house), flame roll out and fuel spillage with vented combustion appliances such as fireplaces, furnaces and water heaters. Backdrafting is a health, safety and comfort concern. Houses need to inhale as easily as exhale. If there is a law to describe proper ventilation, that might be “Air out equals air in”.

    In addition to serious back drafting hazard, the bigger fans are causing high utility bills by exhausting very large amounts of conditioned air from the house. A typical 2 storey 1,600 sq ft house (800 sq ft of area in 3 levels) with 8 ft high ceiling has 19,200 cubic feet (800x8x3) of indoor air which can be completely removed by a 700 CFM kitchen fan (19,200 / 700 =27) in less than 30 mins.

    Depressurization can speed the entrance of radon and other soil gases into the house. It can also create air infiltration through the building envelope.

    After the bigger kitchen fan is installed, the installer must verify that the kitchen fan is not causing any vented combustion appliances to backdraft.

    While holding a smoke stick of neutral density up to the draft diverter or dilution port of each vented combustion appliance, the installer should turns on all exhausting devices in the house including kitchen exhaust fan, bathroom fans, clothed dryer and central vacuum. Test must be continued with the furnace blower fan both on and off because unbalanced air flows in forced air duct work can contribute to depressurization problems.

    If the test reveals back drafting, the installer should open a window within the depressurized zone until back drafting stops. If it required only a little bit of opening (10 to 20 sq in), a passive duct with automatic damper will supply adequate makeup air to prevent depressurization.

    According to “R2000 Program – Makeup Air Guidelines” a 200 CFM kitchen fan requires a 10 in diameter passive duct and 300 CFM kitchen fan requires 12 in diameter passive duct. Bigger kitchen fans (greater than 600 CFM) are not even listed in the makeup air guidelines.

    If it takes more than 20sqin of window opening to alleviate the back drafting, a fan forced makeup air system is required. Partially tempered fan forced makeup air can be introduced into any adjacent space not blocked by a closeable door or return side of the forced air duct work.

    As a result of extensive research on depressurization in the 1980’s, the Canadian General Standards Board has a useful standard to refer to- “The Spill Test: a method to determine the potential for pressure induced spillage from vented fuel fired space heating appliances, water heaters and fireplaces”. The standard was adopted in 1995 and resulted from extensive research on venting by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation – CMHC. Most of the procedures described in the standard are familiar to any blower door operator who has donea worst case depressurization test. The standard sets different limits for continuous and intermittent depressurization.

    The National Building code has two relevant prescriptive sections about depressurization. “Protection against depressurization” requires that in houses with fuel fired appliances vented through a chimney,”any mechanical air exhausting device or group of devices, operated by a single control, with net exhaust capacity greater than 160 CFM shall be provided with makeup air…..by a supply fan rated to deliver not less than amount by which the net exhaust rate of the device exceeds 160 CFM….wired so that it is activated whenever the device is activated”.

    The National Building Code also requires that “The return air system shall be designed so that negativ pressure from the circulating fan can not (a) affect the furnace combusting air supply nor (b) draw combustion products from joints or openings in the furnace or flue pipe”.

    The National Building Code requires only that the makeup air reduces the air flow difference to 160 CFM and does not require that all major exhaust devices to be interlocked to the makeup air fan. The kitchen fan installer can install either a sail switch in the duct or relay to control both the exhaust and makeup air fan.

    According to the Laws of Physics, a decrease in ambient pressure allows less Oxygen to be dissolved into blood which is made up almost entirely of water.

    Oxygen is necessary for all of the vital functions of the human body which can survive weeks without food, days without water, but only a few minutes without oxygen. The average adult consumes almost 3 kg of oxygen everyday. 90% of the energy produced by the body comes from oxygen alone – only 10% comes from food. Oxygen feeds the body, supports the immune system, destroys toxic substances, and promotes new cell growth. Oxygen is our primary source of energy, and is the fuel required by the body for the proper operation of all of its major systems. The combination of the decrease in ambient pressure and the decrease in the percentage of inhaled oxygen causes a combination to reduced blood oxygenation and blood flow or underperfusion to all tissues, including the brain. All microorganisms that infect the human body depend on oxygen-deprived environment in us to enhance their survival this includes viruses, bacteria, yeast, and parasites. Especially anaerobic bacteria (such as Clostridia) cannot survive in an oxygen rich environment. Infections with many of these microorganisms are associated with worsening the symptoms of autism. All detox pathways require oxygen and blood flow to take out the trash. Preventing depressurization in the house will maintain proper amount of oxygen inside the house. Increased percentage of Oxygen will improve the immune system, clear the body of chronic infections, and improve detoxification.

    Leaky homes don’t provide dependable volumes of fresh air. In a leaky house, air infiltration rates are very high in some conditions (when it’s cold outdoors and when it’s windy) and very low in other conditions (when outdoor temperatures are mild and there is little wind.) Leaky houses tend to be over ventilated in zones that are leaky and under ventilated in zones that are relatively tight. Air leakage through wall and ceiling assemblies can lead to condensation, mold, and rot. Leaky homes are uncomfortable.

    Tight homes use less energy than leaky homes — even taking into account the electrical energy used for ventilation.

    I have inspected many houses where chimney backdraft virtually every time these bigger kitchen fans are turned on.

    The biggest backdrafting concern with natural gas furnace is poisonous carbon monoxide “CO”. A poorly serviced, broken or dirty gas furnace can produce lots of CO. Some fireplace backdraft contain CO and cancer causing benzene.

    From a rational point of view, a working conventional fireplace does not belong in a modern house with bigger kitchen exhaust fan. A Home owner who plans to use a fireplace frequently should not only make sure the house hasbalanced ventilation, but should also install a reliable CO alarm in the same room as fireplace. If the alarm sounds frequently, occupants will quickly learn to change the habits, or install a reliable ventilation system.

    I have also noted at some houses, the makeup air vent is covered up by the chilly incredulous occupants.

    Although recirculating kitchen fans which are vented inside do not cause depressurization, they remove only a little grease and odour at best.

    To avoid depressurization problems with vented combustion appliances, the kitchen fan must be correctly sized and installed, and if needed provide dedicated makeup air.

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