Today my guest is Jan Flanzer, CoFounder and Managing Director of Healthy Home Builders in Scarsdale NY. We’ll be talking about the the toxic-free materials used to build healthy homes. Jan grew up in a real estate oriented family, but took another direction for her career. When she became sick from toxic chemical exposure, she re-evaluated her life and decided to build homes that are not only safe, but a joy to live in. HHB creates properties that are distinguished by understated elegance, thoughtful floor plans, and meticulous detail. The guiding principles for the firm’s projects are to be mindful of how their buildings will become part of the fabric of their community. No two projects will necessarily be alike, as the aesthetic of each home is attuned to the history and architecture of each neighborhood. They believe that indoor air and water quality are overlooked aspects of sustainable development. The firm’s core principle is to pioneer the use of materials, systems, and design to protect the health and wellness of its occupants through improvements in indoor air and water quality. They carefully test and select construction materials in order to incorporate non-toxic or minimally-toxic products. Their buildings combine architecturally-contextual exteriors with clean building technologies. By minimizing energy usage and harmful chemicals, they strive to provide homeowners with a better and healthier interior home environment.
TOXIC FREE TALK RADIO
Building Homes that are Healthy and More
Host: Debra Lynn Dadd
Guest: Jan Flanzer
Date of Broadcast: April 21, 2014
DEBRA: Hi, I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. This is Toxic Free Talk Radio where we talk about how to thrive in a toxic world and how to live toxic-free. And I do this every day, every weekday at 12 noon Eastern. But you can also listen to these shows in our archives.
I do this every day because there are so many toxic chemicals out there and there are also so many things that we can do to not be exposed to them. So that’s what we talk about here on the show is toxic chemicals, how we can reduce our exposure, how we can heal our bodies and how we can live in a way that is toxic-free.
Today is Monday, April 21st, 2014. We’re going to be talking about building houses today. This is a very, very, very important subject because one of the most difficult things to find that are toxic-free is just a place to live, a home, a building that is not made from very, very toxic building materials.
My guest today, after becoming ill from the toxic chemical exposures, decided that she was going to start building beautiful, healthy places to live. So my guest is Jan Flanzer. She’s the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Healthy Home Builders in Scarsdale, New York.
JAN FLANZER: Hi, Debra.
DEBRA: How are you today?
JAN FLANZER: I’m doing well. Thank you.
DEBRA: Good. Tell us how you got to start building healthy homes.
JAN FLANZER: One of the things as you mentioned in your introduction is I did get sick. I’ve been exposed to toxic chemicals beginning with toxic molds. This happened over a period of time, more than a couple of years.
I went through a battery of tests at major New York City hospitals. No one knew what was going on. There’s very little awareness about environmental illness even today. And the only doctors I found to really did recognize it and think that that might be a possibility after ruling out just about everything else were doctors who themselves have been exposed to some really toxic event or more than one.
That itself is a challenge just to get diagnosed. I really didn’t know what was making me sick for a couple of years. It pretty much took me out of the game. I wasn’t able to work. I wasn’t able to do much of anything. I had really severe symptoms that moved from system to system in my body, and I was really desperate.
So I knew that I had to do something to find out what was wrong with me to get better or I wouldn’t make it.
One day, my daughter suggested that I check the air inside our house. I did that and sure enough, that was how I learned what was wrong.
After that, it was a series of moves and other exposures. It was a series of consecutive exposures to different toxic elements that made me worse and worse and worse until at one point, I ended up in an environmental health center, which unfortunately didn’t help at all, but I learned a lot.
After I started recovering little by little, I got back to a safe place. The way that that occurred was that I met a wonderful contractor who believed me. A lot of people don’t believe others who say they have become sick from the environment, from the air that they breathe, which is exactly what it was that did me in. You don’t really think of that if it’s not something you can see or feel or smell even. That was not visible to the naked eye.
So here was someone who believed my story because at the same time, he was coming in contact with people who had hired him to find out what was wrong or problems they had in their homes from water intrusion. And those things came together and we both connected on a level in which we recognize that this was a problem not just for me, but for many people – water, one way or another, coming into a home.
This wasn’t anything you could see. There weren’t any leaks or puddles or roof lesions where water was just coming down visibly. In my particular case, it was a slow, steady drift from a horizontal pipe in the basement that I never even saw.
But we started putting our minds together, realizing that other people needed to find a way to solve this problem. And the toxic exposures where dramatically changing people’s lives. Nobody really understood that it was all about the indoor air.
So we needed to deal with that in a way that people could recognize it and appreciate the changes. I have, in particular, developed something called multiple chemical sensitivity, which is MCS, which still stays with me today. That is a sensitivity to all toxic chemicals pretty much (or most of them). I’m sure you’re familiar with that.
JAN FLANZER: And those of us who have this have been called the canaries in the coal mine because even though these chemicals are all around us and the society at large, most people don’t recognize them. But we do. We have no choice. Our bodies react to them in a negative way.
DEBRA: I would just like to comment on that because having been somebody who has gone through the same thing a way long time ago and recovered greatly by eliminating toxic chemicals from my home (which is why I started doing all of the work that I do because it was the same thing, you had this happen to you), you go, “Well, everybody ought to know this. Nobody’s recognizing this. Why are these products being used? How come there are still toxic chemicals?” You just want to get out and do something about it.
What I figured out for myself is that there are people who end up having a collection of symptoms of indifferent body systems, which makes it look like, “What is this?” It’s not this or that. It’s a bunch of things.
But there are people who are having symptoms as a result of their exposure to toxic chemicals that just look like a headache or the flu or other things like that, things that you would take an over-the-counter drug for. But if people would stop being exposed to the toxic chemicals, they wouldn’t have the symptoms and they wouldn’t have to take those drugs.
A really good example of that is that formaldehyde causes insomnia. And formaldehyde is on practically everybody’s bed sheets (unless they buy bed sheets that specifically don’t have formaldehyde on them). The standard bed sheet has formaldehyde, lots of formaldehyde on it. People sleep in that or attempt to sleep in that and they end up taking sleeping pills.
Just because they don’t recognize that they’re having a toxic exposure doesn’t mean that they aren’t. I think that the bigger thing is that many, many, many millions of people are having symptoms from toxic exposure and not making the connection.
JAN FLANZER: Yeah. I agree with you completely. I agree with everything you said. One of the things that I learned is that we do have a toxic load that we accumulate over a lifetime.
For most people, they’re individual incidents just like the one you cited. And for me, the exposure to mold at that time and pesticides just put me over the top, and my body wasn’t able to detox anymore. Generally, when you have one incidence that’s isolated, you can detox it, but I wasn’t able to anymore and my body just crashed.
But you’re right. The symptoms taken by themselves appear to the medical community as insignificant, whether they’re muscle problems or eye problems. They move from the central nervous system maybe with tremors to the muscular skeletal system to the digestive system. And they move all around just like you said, exactly the way you described.
Nobody really puts it together, but you’re right about the sheets, which is why I only use organic cotton sheets now. You’re absolutely right. The mattresses as well are at fault because of the flame retardants.
DEBRA: Yes, and all the synthetic materials and everything. I mean it really is…
JAN FLANZER: It is everywhere.
DEBRA: It’s mind-boggling at first to consider the toxic chemicals in everything.
JAN FLANZER: Yeah, it is. And it’s all about everything we breathe.
DEBRA: It is. And how much…
JAN FLANZER: And that’s the common denominator.
DEBRA: Yeah, yeah. We need to take a break, but we’ll be right back. And we’re talking today with my guest Jan Flanzer. She’s the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Healthy Home Builders in Scarsdale, New York. And her website is HealthyHomeBuilders.com.
When we come back, we’ll talk about some of those toxic chemicals that are in almost every home in America and in the world, and then what we can do about it. We’ll be right back.
= COMMERCIAL BREAK =
DEBRA: You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. My guest today is Jan Flanzer. She’s the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Healthy Home Builders in Scarsdale, New York. Her website is HealthyHomeBuilders.com.
And Jan, tell us about some of the toxic chemicals that are in these products, these building products and which building products that they’re in.
JAN FLANZER: Sure, I’ll be happy to do that. We actually spent years researching and testing products before we selected the ones that we would use for construction. We wanted to make sure that they would be safe to breathe because after all, there are really four elements that determine your health.
After genetics, which of course is the first one, there’s the air, the water and the food. And nowadays, everybody can buy organic food if they want to. And what we wanted to do was take care of the other two elements, which are the air and the water.
So feeling that, to some extent, people are managing to somehow detox municipal water supplies at some point, we took that to the next level and installed a whole house carbon water filtration system, backed up by a point-of-use reverse osmosis system in individual locations. So the water we have is absolutely pure and nobody really would ever need to buy bottled water again.
As you know, those plastic bottles are sources of toxic exposure as well because of the petroleum…
DEBRA: Right, they are. They are, the plasticizers and things. Yes, I actually think that everybody needs to buy a water filter for their home. I think it’s more important than a refrigerator or a stove. I know that’s not as funny, but I really think…
JAN FLANZER: No, you’re right.
DEBRA: I really think that just as every home has a refrigerator and a stove and a washing machine and a dryer, every home needs to have a water filter as standard equipment.
JAN FLANZER: Absolutely right, especially with the municipal water supplies now. Some of them, they’re not just bringing in all the toxic chemicals that we’ve tried to avoid because they’re being they’re carried in the supplies, but even jet fuel is in some of the water supply.
I agree with you. I think that’s a good way of thinking about it that it should be another appliance in anyway.
DEBRA: It is. It should be another appliance that should be – I agree with you about having a whole house filter and a point-of-use filter because what happens is that –
I used to wonder. Why did they put all these chlorine and chloramines and everything in the water? It’s because the water can be absolutely perfectly clean when it leaves the water treatment plant, whatever it’s called. And it isn’t, but let’s just say that it is.
By the time it goes through miles and miles of pipes, which has, who knows what, in them, all that stuff is going to get to your house if it doesn’t have these disinfectants in it. And so that’s therefore are safety to put in the chlorine and the chloramines.
But once it gets to our house, we don’t need those chlorine and chloramines in our bodies. And so you need to filter coming into the house so that when you take a shower, those chlorine and chloramines go right into your skin and into your body immediately. Even if you have fluoride in the water, it goes right through your skin immediately, and any other toxic chemicals.
I mean if you don’t have a water filter or whole house water filter, when you get up and take a shower in the morning, you’re just taking a bath in toxic chemicals.
JAN FLANZER: You’re absolutely right.
DEBRA: It’s absolutely true.
JAN FLANZER: And many people don’t realize that the skin absorbs water just as surely as if you were drinking it.
DEBRA: Even faster because when you drink water, it goes into your stomach and those pollutants get slowed down by that and proteins and fiber and all those things.
When you put something in your skin, it goes straight in, right into your blood. And when you breathe, it goes straight in, right through all these little cells in your lungs. So I would say that one of the easiest ways to get exposed to toxic chemicals is through water and through air.
We think of it as – for so many years, it was like a poison with something that you ingested, but that’s the slowest way to get a poison in your body. If you wanted to give somebody a poison and kill them, it would be better to have them breathe it or put it on their skin.
JAN FLANZER: That’s absolutely right. Yeah, I couldn’t agree more, which is why we focus on this.
We started out thinking that we would be the Whole Foods of residential construction, which is one way to look at it because we’re giving people choices. Most construction is full of toxic chemicals. All building materials contain so many of those.
The list could go on and on and on, but what we decided to do was focus on what was not toxic. And we wanted to build differently and better. And so we decided to change the game. Changing the way we build is what Healthy Home Builders is all about. So we’re not building in the way anybody else is building.
And we’re not even aware of any other company who’s doing what we do. A lot of people are building sustainably, and they call that green. And that’s generally the reference to green. People think of green as being sustainable and conservation. We’ve done that too. We’ve re-cleaned old floors that have no toxic stain or finish on them.
We’ve done all of that, but what we’re doing that’s totally different is focusing on the health of the people who are living there. That’s currently being done by any other builder that we’re aware of, except one or two people on the West Coast who pretty much are building houses that don’t look traditional, the way ours do. The house that they’re talking about are usually extremely contemporary, sometimes even looking something that Jacksons might have lived in.
What we’re doing is building a house that looks like something people really want to live in, that looks like home. But at the same time, we look forward to health benefits that we are offering with all these non-toxic material.
So for us, it starts with the building envelop, which is everything that gets exposed to the outside. That would include the roofing, the siding, the windows, the doors, the drainage, the insulation. All of these things are primary importance to us because we want to make sure that there is no opportunity for any water to enter the house at anytime.
So the installation at all of this building envelop, pieces that come together really determine how we’re going to be able to protect the people inside the house.
DEBRA: Jan, I need to interrupt you for a second. We need to go to break, but I need to really emphasize what you said about not letting any water come into the house. I want to talk about that more when we come back.
JAN FLANZER: Okay.
DEBRA: You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. My guest is Jan Flanzer. She’s from Healthy Home Builders in Scarsdale, New York. And her website is HealthyHomeBuilders.com.
Jan, before the break, I said that I wanted to talk about water getting into the house. And the reason, I wanted to talk about that is because I actually had a problem with that in my home that I’m living in now.
I didn’t build the house to begin with, but I bought an older house that was built in 1940. And after living in it for a few years, both my husband and I started having symptoms that we haven’t had before. I knew that it wasn’t any toxic chemicals because there were no toxic chemicals in this particular house and none that I had put there. And we had remediated a few things to eliminate things from the house.
So we knew that we were living in a non-toxic house. And what it turned out to be was that the bathroom hadn’t been built correctly. And so there had been a water leak going on in a pipe, in a wall.
This was one of the things about bathrooms. They build the pipes in behind walls. You can never look at them, and they start dripping. You can’t get to them without ripping the tile out. You just don’t know what’s going on.
What we found when we finally – we had somebody come in and do a mold test. They found that the mold was very high. And so we said, “Okay, rip out the bathroom.” And we had to rip out our entire bathroom, all the walls, the ceiling, the floors, everything. We were down to the set, and there was mold all over. There was just mold all over behind the walls. It was getting into our indoor air, and it was making us sick.
One thing that I want to say about pipes is that – I went to a house. I think it was the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California. And it was an old Victorian house.
They had built it in such a way that there was a little door on the other side of the pipes in the bathroom. So on the bathroom side, it was tile. But then, the pipes were in the wall. And then on the other side of the wall, there was a little door. You could open it, and you could see the pipes.
I thought that was the most clever thing that I had ever seen. When I was building a bathroom in California, we put that in our bathroom. We put the shower towards on the outside wall. And then we put a little door on the outside that we could just go and access our pipes without ripping out our bathroom. But we had to rip out…
JAN FLANZER: That’s pretty cool. You’re talking about an access panel or more than that?
DEBRA: Like an access panel.
JAN FLANZER: Yeah.
DEBRA: So when we were rebuilding the bathroom because my husband builds, he built our whole bathroom with his own two hands. And the thing that he really, really emphasized was that he wanted to build our shower so that no water could possibly ever escape from the shower.
JAN FLANZER: Exactly. He’s right.
DEBRA: And they are not built that way today. They are not built that way today. They haven’t been built that way for a long time. This is something that can really cause a problem if it’s not built correctly.
JAN FLANZER: Absolutely right. We do build in that way. I’m sorry you went through that, but you’re absolutely right about everything you said. It is extremely important.
That’s why water is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, problem in homes and in terms of causing problems with indoor air. Absolutely right.
DEBRA: Yeah. And it’s something that we don’t often talk about. I was thinking about – I have this big focus on toxic chemicals that we bring in or that are in building materials. But water, it can come into your home in so many ways. It can cause many problems, and you don’t know it.
JAN FLANZER: It’s very insidious, and you don’t know it. Just like what you said, you can’t see behind the wall.
JAN FLANZER: And you ended up opening up your walls. I ended up having to open up my walls one room at a time because you don’t know what’s behind there. It’s not just the bathroom. It’s one wall, and then you think it might be another wall. You’re right. You have to look behind there as well.
DEBRA: And mold is just…
JAN FLANZER: The whole idea is prevention like you said, like your husband did.
JAN FLANZER: And if you can do that, which is how we build a home at Healthy Home Builders now, then the inhabitants never have to worry about water coming in.
It’s about the drainage system. It’s about how our shower is built and put together. There are just so many things like that that we took the time to research, study and make sure would be safe for the people living there.
There are many other elements that I would love to talk to you about including something that we don’t hear about much called garage ventilation. Because if people…
DEBRA: I know that garage ventilation.
JAN FLANZER: You do know?
DEBRA: Let’s talk about that.
JAN FLANZER: Okay, great. So I don’t know if your listeners would be interested in hearing about it or if they already have.
DEBRA: Oh, please go ahead. I’m totally interested.
JAN FLANZER: So now we know that researchers have determined that an attached garage poses a threat with the exhaust fumes coming out of a car when it’s parked in the garage certainly for the rooms above it, unless it’s properly ventilated.
In fact, I understand there’s a law that’s pending in Canada now to require ventilation systems that automatically come on fans that vent the fumes from the car exhaust, whether that’s carbon monoxide or benzene or anything else that comes out of car exhausts. So that it doesn’t go through drywall or porous cement walls from the garage inside the house and get into the air because people aren’t aware of that. It’s certainly dangerous.
So what we’ve done is installed that so that automatically – anytime the garage door closes, for the next 15 or 20 minutes, this fan is venting all the toxic chemicals that come into the garage through the car exhaust. That’s really important too in terms of how you breathe and what you breathe.
DEBRA: It really is so important. One of the things that a lot of people do is they store a lot of their toxic chemicals on the garage, their pesticides and their paint and all those things. All those fumes can just come right in the house.
The house I’m living in now has an attached garage, and you can walk right from the garage into the house. There’s just a door. And it has a little space down at the bottom. Most garage doors do that, unless you put a piece of leather stripping down there. I don’t have anything toxic in my garage, and I don’t park my car in my garage. People think it’s convenient to have that attached garage, but what it’s really doing is polluting your house.
JAN FLANZER: Exactly right. And one way to mitigate that is what we said that’s an alternative. There are so many things that we’re learning that we didn’t know before.
For example, all the other systems, all the other elements and products used in the house, from sealants, to stains, to paints, to crocking – all of these things are toxic as they are right now, unless you do a lot of research.
Hopefully, we’re hoping someday to even come up with a product line of our own. That would be the non-toxic version of these products. So there would be Healthy Home Builders’ sealant, Healthy Home Builders’ crocking, Healthy Home Builders’ stain.
And you can buy zero VOC paints today. In fact, that’s what we’ve used throughout this project, that 8 Kent Road at Healthy Home Builders.
DEBRA: We need to take another break. And then, I want to hear about your project. You can tell us about some of the safe kinds of materials that you’ve used.
JAN FLANZER: Okay, absolutely.
DEBRA: Okay. You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. My guest is Jan Flanzer from Healthy Home Builders. Their website is HealthyHomeBuilders.com.
When we come back, you’ll hear about her project and the materials that she used. We’ll be right back.
DEBRA: You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. My guest is Jan Flanzer of Healthy Home Builders. That’s at HealthyHomeBuilders.com. She’s going to tell us now about the first house that they built. Hello?
JAN FLANZER: Hi, Debra.
DEBRA: Hi. Okay, you’re there.
JAN FLANZER: That’s actually not the first house that we built, but it’s the first house here in Scarsdale.
DEBRA: Okay, good. Tell us about the first house in Scarsdale.
JAN FLANZER: We’ve actually used these systems before in terms of the air and the water and purifying them. I didn’t get to tell you about the air system, the air filtration system and ventilation system…
DEBRA: Okay, tell us about that.
JAN FLANZER: …which is so important when you build a house. You have to ventilate it properly. That’s what we’ve done here. We have some really cool system called an ERV. I imagine you’re familiar with that.
DEBRA: I am, but most of the readers or the listeners won’t be. Let’s talk about it.
JAN FLANZER: That basically is a fresh air exchange system which is called an ERV, Energy Recovery Ventilation System. And that constantly brings fresh air and purifies it, filters it, brings it to the temperature at which you’ve set the thermostat and then carries the stale air out of the house.
So it’s really quite a remarkable system that you can regulate yourself at different locations in the house to determine how much fresh air you want in at any given time and how much air you want removed. And it guarantees that you’re always going to have fresh air coming in and stale air exiting the house, which is what healthy indoor air is all about.
DEBRA: Yes. I’ll tell you that my preference has always been for clean outdoor air. I always try to live someplace where the air is as clean as I can have it.
Where I’m living right now is – I don’t even know how many miles, maybe three miles from the Gulf of Mexico. And so air is coming in off the gulf all the time. It’s pretty good outdoor air. I live with my windows open much of the year, as much as I can, although in the summertime, I have to turn on the air conditioner. And then, it all filled up. So I would always say, “I’d rather have clean air than have air that goes through a machine.” But then, I went.
There’s a friend of mine in LA who has probably one of the most state of the art air systems that there is. The difference between the outdoor air quality and the quality of air inside her house is remarkable, remarkable, remarkable, remarkable.
I mean it was just stunning. I mean you would never go out…
JAN FLANZER: I’m so glad you noticed it. That’s probably the carbon and HEPA filtration also.
DEBRA: Yeah. So I did notice that the filtration really made a difference. So if you’re living someplace where there’s a lot of outdoor air pollution, this is something you really need to have.
JAN FLANZER: Yeah, and also for things like dust and pollen and all kinds of things.
DEBRA: Yes. It makes difference.
JAN FLANZER: I totally agree with that.
DEBRA: Okay. So tell us about…
JAN FLANZER: That’s the primary system. The things that we’re specializing in are indoor air and water quality cleanliness and safety and filtration.
And then, we also use cost-saving energy systems like solar panels and geothermal heating in air conditioning and rating in the floors and the bathrooms upstairs. All of these systems dramatically reduce cost. So people would pay between 70% and 80% less than their traditional energy bill every month, which is really pretty huge.
They’re clean, which is really cool. There are no compressors outside the house like you see around most houses. There are machines all around them, but we have none. So that’s a really good thing.
JAN FLANZER: Yeah.
DEBRA: Wow. Wow.
JAN FLANZER: Exactly. It’s a clean way to live in so many ways. There’s nothing off-gassing.
You walk outside sometimes – even in my house, the exhaust from the air conditioning when it’s on is blowing right in your face. So all the air that’s being sucked out of your house, you’re breathing anyway if you’re outdoors nearby.
But with this system, it’s not like that at all. The solar panels provide all the hot water in the house. There are just so many cost-saving benefits, not counting the fact that it’s still nice and clean. That’s the best of all.
DEBRA: Yes. You’re not adding toxic pollutants to the outside air that you will turn around and breathe.
JAN FLANZER: Exactly, that’s right. So I think the other thing that’s really important to know is that there really is a seat change going on. And we really are firm believers that this is just the beginning and that it’s going strong.
I don’t know if you heard or read a couple of weeks ago that even Walmart is going organic now. They bought Wild Oats Company, which was a major competitor of theirs. And Wild Oats will be supplying the organic products on the shelves for them.
That really means that mainstream America is starting to think about health. It’s going healthy. Walmart I think is pretty much the definition of that. It’s not just the…
DEBRA: Walmart is very mainstream.
JAN FLANZER: …people that we thought were going organic now. It’s everyone.
DEBRA: It’s not a fringe thing at all anymore. I mean Walmart, I didn’t know that they had bought Wild Oats, but they have been moving in a more sustainable, organic direction for a number of years.
So it’s starting to come out that they have – I did another show where we talked about this – that they have a whole program within their company to be moving in the direction of removing toxic chemicals from their products. They’re notifying their vendors that by a certain date, if they still have toxic chemicals in their products, they have to be on the label or they won’t put them on the shelves…
JAN FLANZER: Yeah, I read that.
DEBRA: So I think that all of this is moving in the right direction. I think that you are way running out way out in front in terms of what you’re doing.
JAN FLANZER: We know that. We are way beyond green. What we actually hope to do is raise awareness so that other builders will do the same thing we’re doing as well.
DEBRA: Yes. Traditionally so far, the whole thing about green building hasn’t been about toxics, but I’m starting to see some interest in that. The green building has been all about saving energy, conserving resources and all those things, which is great. But toxics need to be addressed.
JAN FLANZER: Exactly. What I said before, they’re focusing on sustainability to the exclusion of health. And what they’re doing is…
DEBRA: Let me say it in another way. Let me say this because this is going to sound even more incredible.
JAN FLANZER: Okay.
DEBRA: What they’re doing is that they’re trying to sustain life without addressing the very thing that is destroying it.
JAN FLANZER: Exactly right. Yes. Also though, it’s been presented as the fact that it’s about the planet, but we’re talking about the people on the planet.
DEBRA: Right. But all these toxic chemicals that are harming us are also harming every other living thing on earth.
JAN FLANZER: Of course.
DEBRA: So if we want to have – tomorrow is Earth Day. If we want to have a planet to live on, if we want to have all the things to sustain our lives, we need to pay attention to what we’re putting into the environment.
If we put toxic chemicals in the environment, we’re going to be living in a toxic environment. There’s an old saying. I wish I could remember it. It’s something about a frog living in a pond. If what you’re doing is living in a place and what you do is just fill it up with garbage, then you’re going to be living in a garbage place. If what we do is we create toxic chemicals and we put them in our environment, we’re going to live in a toxic world.
And we do. We’re at that point where there is no place on earth that doesn’t have toxic chemicals in it. You can go to Antarctica and the penguins are dying from toxic chemicals. It’s everywhere. And what we need to be doing is we need to be making these choices one by one, like I’m doing and like Jan is doing, and saying, “We’re not going to be toxic anymore.”
And I think that you’ve done a great job, Jan, of saying, “This can be done. We know how to do it. We’ve done the research. We’re actually building houses. And everybody can build a house like this.” The information is there now. It’s just a choice. We need to keep building the toxic-free world by all the choices that we make.
So Jan, we’ve just got a couple of minutes left. So I’m going to let you to say whatever you’d like to say as your final statement.
JAN FLANZER: I really just like to thank you for having me on, being able to talk about this really important change in how we’re building so that people can leave healthier lives and not have to deal with illness that’s environmentally related.
It’s really good to know that you’re out there talking about these things. As I mentioned too, I think in my e-mail, you were one of the first people who had inspired me and guided me when I got sick in terms of telling us what we needed to do and what were the safe routes.
So I’m very grateful to you. I know many others are as well. I hope you keep doing the important work you’re doing.
DEBRA: Thank you. Thank you. I intend to do that.
JAN FLANZER: Good.
DEBRA: I am enjoying very much of doing this radio show and talking to people like you who are, in addition to me, out there doing things to make the world less toxic. It impresses me everyday what people are doing that they’ve come to from their own decisions and their own hearts and their own conscience of knowing what’s right.
What do you say on your homepage? I think you say, “We’re doing something different not because we can, but because we should.”
JAN FLANZER: Exactly right. That’s what we say, “Because we should.” And we hope everyone else will.
DEBRA: Well, I’m sure they will. You’re giving us a great example.
JAN FLANZER: Yup. And these things…
DEBRA: Thank you so much. This is Toxic Free Talk Radio.