on June 20, 2004
When I heard about this often-referenced book, I wondered if it was just 'sensationalist'. It's not. This book is alternately frightening and terribly funny. In his Closing Remarks, Mr. May says, "If you read this book and then go out and purchase a HEPA vacuum, I'll be pleased; but if you throw out your couch or mattress, I'll be upset. I wrote the book not to cause hysteria, but to help people suffering from allergies and asthma gain control over the air quality where they live, play and work. I believe firmly that taking simple steps can make enormous improvements, just as minor omissions can create major problems."
This book starts off with an introduction of allergy causing organisms, ranging from mold to mites. The microphotographs of carpet bettles and dust mites are like something from a scary movie. After that, Mr. May discusses the "Stage, Set and Crew" - rugs, furniture, bedding, pets, plants, and our own bodies. These make up our environment. Mr. May talks about a whole host of allergens including pets, mites, mold, and off-gassing. He also addresses important issues such as air-quality problems (such as carbon monoxide buildup) and home hazards, including improper wiring. Throughout the book, he discusses moisture and moisture control as it applies to specific areas of a home.
Mr. May addresses problems that can be found in each area of a home: the bedroom; the bathrooms; living room and family rooms; kitchens and dining rooms; basements; laundries; the attic; and in HVAC systems. He also talks about allergens in cars, schools, and homes. Importantly, he has solid and sensible recommendations for fixing the problems.
Now, for the funny stuff. Mr. May has been an inspector for many years, and has run into some very interesting problems. One laugh-out-loud story was called "The Hot Seat," and described a toilet that actually smoked and steamed (page 66). Have a bee problem? Don't try and remove them yourself (page 89). He has plenty of personal anecdotes as well, such as a temporary biological weapon his son inadvertently created by frying jalepeno peppers and onions (page 100).
on April 10, 2003
I read this book with a great deal of interest. Recently my sister-in-law was getting sicker and sicker from living in a toxic mold infected apartment. One doctor diagnosed her as having MS and another suggested psychiatric treatment! She got sicker and sicker, started to really lose it, her speech was becoming garbled, she felt like she was losing her memory. In mid-sentence she would suddenly lose her train of thought. I took some mold spore counts in her bedroom and they were through the roof. Finally after constant pestering on my part, they moved into a hotel. Immediately she started to get better.
Today, living in a different apartment, a much cleaner one, she is well again, back to work too.
I do research and write about plants and allergies (Safe Sex in the Garden) and although this fine book by May doesnï¿½t touch on outside landscapes, he does do an excellent job of exploring sickness-causing agents within the house. He gets deeply into all parts of a house, from the attic to the basement.
For many people affected by allergies, asthma, and a host of related environmentally triggered illnesses, reading this book would be an excellent idea. If I had one knock on the book it would be that the whole subject of what is growing right outside the bedroom window is ignored. But, to be fair, May sticks to what he knows best here. I have had numerous clients who would wake up every morning feeling lousy, often with sore throats. No one seemed to be able to figure out his or her problem. When I was asked to look over their properties for highly allergenic plants Iï¿½d often find a profuse pollen-producing shrub or tree right outside their bedroom window. Sometimes the offending shrub will be a male Podocarpus or a male Yew, both of which produce considerable pollen that is light, dry, tiny, allergenic, and quite poisonous. The solution in these cases is simple; replace the shrub. I recently photographed some of this pollen through my microscope, on a glass slide, over which I placed a small piece of window screen. The photo is impressive. Close to a thousand grains of this pollen could pass, simultaneously, through each tiny square of the window screen!
But I digress. This book, My House is Killing Me! Is a fine book and answers many important questions about indoor pollutants. Jeffery May has provided a valuable contribution to the field of indoor, household contaminants. I highly recommend it.
on January 26, 2002
My House is Killing Me! is a real eye opener. This book is a must read for anyone who has asthma, allergies or a family member or friend that has sensitivities to allergens. Informative, but not overly technical, this book describes why homes have indoor air quality problems and what the homeowner can do to improve the air quality around them.
The photos demonstrate real life situations where poorly maintained furnaces, air ducts and humidifiers can contribute to the misery of allergy and asthma sufferers. The photomicrographs and photos from the scanning electron microscope show how mold can grow on surfaces that were thought would not support mold growth. The recommendations at the end of each chapter provide valuable information and guidance that will enable the homeowner to improve the air quality in the home.
Who should read this book? People with asthma, allergies, doctors, home inspectors, trades people or anyone interested in maintaining a healthy home.
on March 3, 2004
An important book to have- especially for doctors and families with allergies!
In this book, May and Samet explain, clearly and understandably, what things can happen in a house to cause allergic reactions and asthma flare ups in even the healthiest of people and how to remedy the problem.
For those of us who suffer from enviromental sensitivities, this book is a wonderful way to help your family and friends understand exactly what you're going through with "hard science" to back it up.
And if you're buying a house, reading this book will tell you things to look for during pre-sale inspection that could possibly save you thousands in the long run. (Especially since the insurance industry is becoming increasingly unwilling to pay for mold or mildew related claims
on March 14, 2002
My son was diagnosed with asthma and I decided to do what I could to help him through housekeeping and house improvements.
This book was the place I started. After reading through this book and looking at the pictures I was able to make a list of things I wanted to do and the order they needed to be done. It made a huge difference for our family.
The pictures only add to the text and help to clarify what the author is discussing. The text is clear and easy to read. The directions are simple and informative. WELL WORTH THE MONEY!
I did not find this book to be overwhelming or full of too much information. Rather it was a perfect book for home owners who suffer from allergies or asthma.
on October 7, 2003
I've read several other books on this topic,plus consulted with a doctor specializing in environmental illness (EI), but I still learned a lot from this book and it's my favorite. Why? Because it's full of practical, doable things YOU can do around your house to make it a healthier environment. Many of the other EI folks want you to tear your house apart, even when there's no evidence that your house is the culprit. This approach makes far more sense. Some patients must, of course, take drastic measures, but many of us do not. Start with this book, then read John and Lynn Bower's books if you need more detail. It's an easy read and cheap. I highly recommend it.
on August 5, 2002
This is one of the best of the books on detoxifying your home. It goes into the level of detail most people need to really figure out what to do. It's on a par with some of the best Web sites on the subject (i.e. greenhome.com, et al). And it gets its info right. I should know, as I've read almost all the similar books in my efforts to detoxify my home, including the first (and still one of the best): Linda Mason Hunter's Healthy Home. So I would get this book, as it is a great way to learn about the tools for the coming Renaissance in simple and natural living. Mssrs. May and Samet have really done a nice job in moving the ball forward. Kudos!
on January 30, 2002
I called Jeff May and asked him about finding a house that I could live in and he said, "Read my book 5 times and then you will know as much as I do." Well, not quite, but given that I'm an asthmatic and am very sensitive to mold, dust, and pollutants--his book has been fabulous in helping to mitigate my sensitivities. Just wrapping up bedding in dustmite proof covers and buying a HEPA vacuum cleaner have made a huge difference. Now we are trying to find a house to buy and it's great being able to walk into a house and know that I may be able to fix something and it will fix the problem.
on October 14, 2014