Sick Building Syndrome with Nicole Bijlsma

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Sick Building Syndrome with Nicole Bijlsma

Is your home or workplace making you sick?

Headaches, nausea, gastrointestinal upsets, respiratory ailments and mood changes...all these symptoms and more may be explained by Sick Building Syndrome. Nicole Bijlsma is a healthy home expert and pioneer researcher in the field of building biology.

Nicole joins us today, ahead of her speaking engagement at the upcoming AIMA/CMA Annual Conference (September 2016) on the topic of Geomedicine. Nicole takes us through the many, often invisible, environmental culprits behind a plethora of chronic health conditions. She leads listeners through identifying the symptoms of Sick Building Syndrome, testing and risk-minimisation techniques. Sick Building Syndrome may be something to consider in confounding health conditions that aren't being resolved through traditional approaches.

Covered in this episode:

[00:53] Meet Nicole Bijilsma
[02:30] Nicole's story & background
[03:56] In a lot of patients; homes are the source of the issue..
[05:08] How big is the issue of building biology?
[06:03] The role played by genes, immunity and inflammation?
[07:33] How do you identify the cause?
[08:22] Recognising problems with EMF..
[09:50] How close are we to using genes to predict risk of environmental health issues?
[11:35] The complexity of chemicals..
[13:08] The perils of the beauty industry..
[13:44] "Pandemic Idiopathic Multi-Morbidity" - what is it?
[15:07] The legal conundrum of sick building syndrome..
[17:11] Pathogenic Fungi
[19:46] How do we treat mould damage?
[21:57] Chemical accountability & the costs of testing?
[28:12] Exposure standards & the cost to society?
[28:29] Reproductive implications?
[36:04] Doing the detective work: uncovering the issues
[39:18] Patient education
[42:00] In summary: What can be done to reduce a person's toxic load?


What is visual contrast sensitivity testing?
Visual contrast sensitivity testing measures your ability to see details at low contrast levels and is often used as a nonspecific test of neurological function.  Similar in form to a standard audiometry hearing test, a VCS test generally involves the presentation of a series of images of decreasing contrast to the test subject and the recording of the contrast levels where patterns, shapes, or objects can or cannot be identified.  The results of the test can then be used as an aid in the diagnosis of visual system dysfunction. 

What can cause a contrast sensitivity deficit?
Many things can affect the ability to perceive contrast.  These include nutritional deficiencies, the consumption of alcohol, drug/medication use, and exposure to endogenous or exogenous neurotoxins and/or biotoxins, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), venom from animal or insect stings or bites, certain species of mold and the mycotoxins and microbial VOCs they produce, cyanobacteria, dinoflagellates (particularly Pfiesteria and Ciguatera), parasites, heavy metals like mercury and lead, and the pathogens responsible for Lyme disease and its common co-infections. 



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Nicole Bijlsma

Nicole Bijlsma is a woman of passion, and her passion lies in environmental medicine. Nicole was a former naturopath and acupuncturist with 15 years of clinical experience who changed her career pathway to become a building biologist after noticing a strong correlation with many of her patients illnesses and health hazards in their home. Nicole is the author of the best seller Healthy Home, Healthy Family, was a columnist for Body+Soul (Herald Sun) and is frequently consulted by the media to comment on health hazards in the built environment (The 7PM Project, Sunrise, The Today Show, The Circle, Channel 7 News, Today Tonight, Channel 74, ABC radio, Fox FM, numerous webinars and podcasts).

Nicole has thirty years experience lecturing at tertiary institutions in nutrition, Chinese Medicine and environmental medicine, and has published in peer-reviewed journals. Her extensive knowledge in environmental medicine has seen her speak at various conferences both in Australia and abroad (USA, Thailand and New Zealand). Nicole single handedly established the building biology industry in Australia, was the former President of the Australasian Society of Building Biologists and established the Australian College of Environmental Studies in 1999 to educate people about the health hazards in the built environment. The college is the only institution in Australia to provide nationally accredited training in Building Biology and Feng Shui. Nicole is currently completing her PhD investigating health hazards in the built environment under the supervision of Professor Marc Cohen at RMIT.