Air Quality Woman suffering from shortness of breath

Published on February 2nd, 2017 | by Henri


Hard to breathe inside condo

Q.    I have a condo and we are having great difficulty breathing and we also experience headaches and feel very tired in the unit since they sealed up the condos with new insulation wrap, siding  on the outside of the building, as well as new windows.

They installed fans in the bathroom that vent out of the building. They hired an expert who did blower-door tests on the six pak before and after the construction was mostly completed. He determined the units are very tight. I explained the situation to him in January but the board has told me I am the only one with a problem.

I heard of another woman who had a problem breathing in her master bedroom which is where I notice the greatest difficulty. People have complained about smoke in their units. Another person said they could smell bacon cooking in her unit and she was not cooking bacon. Another woman who lives in the unit all year around leaves her window open a bit because she wakes up with sore throats.

The last time we stayed in the unit I ended up with a very serious sinus infection. We returned to the unit but I had difficulty breathing so we left that night. I would sincerely appreciate your help.

A.  Sensitivity to certain chemicals vary among many people. You should consider hiring an environmental expert to find out what is causing you such discomfort, and whether it can also affect your health. If enough people are so affected, perhaps the association can foot the bill.

The most expert person I know in this field is my esteemed colleague, Jeffrey C. May, an expert in evaluating all types of allergen contamination. Jeff has authored several books on indoor air quality in all types of buildings as well as lectured and authored many articles on the subject. I have benefited greatly from reading his books and his prolific publications.

His office has the latest tools and expertise to zero in on the culprits and is located in Massachusetts. You can reach him at

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