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   A Conversation With Dan Stih  

A  Conversation with

  Dan Stih, BSE, CMC, CIEC  


  Author of: Healthy Living Spaces: Top 10 Hazards Affecting Your Health  
  How did you end up in the business of testing peopleís home and office for mold and other things?  

I used to be an engineer, an aerospace engineer at Motorola in Phoenix, Arizona. My mind is very analytical and well-suited for solving problems but I didnít like the corporate environment or the heat in Phoenix. So after 10 years I moved to Prescott a few hours north. I had no idea what I was going to do for work there. I started to do simple repairs jobs for a local property management company which led to full-time work as a handyman. That was a very toxic job. I would do just about anything that was needed I would go into crawlspaces to repair plumbing leaks and see mold. I would go into attics and wonder about asbestos and fiberglass. I would come home covered with paint. It might seem obvious that this was not healthy. But most of us take our health for granted and donít realize how harmful things can be. My partner at the time had done work with the famous Dr. Hilda Clark, who helps people heal from cancer. She would point out to me the significance of my exposure with tid-bits like, ďdid you know that the chemicals in paint are absorbed through your skin on contact?Ē I still wasnít too worried but I started to do research on how I could use less toxic materials. I also stated studying how to test for various things and how to remediate things such as mold. During this time I had people who were clients of my handyman service that found my studies useful. For example when I was in the crawlspace fixing the pluming leak and found mold I knew what needed to be done to get rid of the mold. Then working as a handyman actually made me sick. I needed to do something else.


Why did you decide to write Top 10?


A lot of people know mold can make you sick. When people donít feel good inside they think mold is to blame. Sometimes there is a mold problem. Too often there is no mold problem. Or there may be a little bit of mold but itís not whatís making people sick or affecting their health. Many times I show up to do a mold inspection and instantly can smell or see other things that are responsible. What I assume to be common sense they simply have no idea. The book, Healthy Living Spaces, is an attempt to educate people about the other things that affect their health in a big way.

  How did you come up with the Top 10?  
  There were so many to choose from. The top 10 list came about because I donít want people to feel overwhelmed. And the truth is, in most cases when I walk into a building there are only a few things I find are bad for peopleís health. If these are changed the improvement in your quality of life and health can be significant.  
  Why arenít cat and dog allergies in the Top 10?  
  I sympathize with people allergic to cats or dogs and love pets. Often when people complain about allergies or that they are sick in their house theyíve had their pets for years. There are studies that show that having pets in the home when a child is young actually reduces the chances of them developing allergies. A lot of homes that have cats or dogs are extremely dusty. Pets make a contribution by bringing in dust and stuff like pesticides from outside. donít suggest people with pet allergies get rid of their pets. There are house-keeping strategies that can help.  
  I see special pillow cases advertised to reduce allergies caused by dust mites. Are these useful?  
  Itís popular to blame dust mites for allergies and you see advertisements for products to prevent dust mites including special pillow cases so you may think thatís what affecting you. The truth is If you live in a city with a dry climate mites canít survive. So these pillow cases are a waste of money and very uncomfortable to sleep on. If you live someplace like Florida, mites may be an issue. But mites canít prosper if things are kept dry. The root cause of the mites is dampness. Reduce the dampness and you kill the mites. A big factor is making the bed. It used to be that people put the sheets out on the line outside in the sun to dry in the morning. They still do that in Europe. But here we have gotten lazy.  
    For more information, or to schedule an interview, please contact:  
    Healthy Living Spaces (503) 603-8101    e-mail  dan@healthylivingspaces.com  
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Revised: January 17, 2021.

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