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  • Healthy house checkup

    Ashland consultant James Haim ferrets out electromagnetic fields and indoor pollution
  • He has a bag full of equipment in hand when he first enters a house, including a gaussmeter, CO2 detector and magnetic-field indicator. But when James Haim does a house call, he turns first to the built-in instrument that he is never without: his nose.
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    • Learn More
      To reach James Haim, call 541-488-0916.
      Information about his services can be seen on the website for Hidden Springs Wellness Center in Ashland. Go to www.hiddenspringswellness.com and click on ...
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      Learn More
      To reach James Haim, call 541-488-0916.

      Information about his services can be seen on the website for Hidden Springs Wellness Center in Ashland. Go to www.hiddenspringswellness.com and click on his name under "About Us."

      Information about building biology from Institute for Bau-Biologie & Ecology can be seen at http://hbelc.org
  • He has a bag full of equipment in hand when he first enters a house, including a gaussmeter, CO2 detector and magnetic-field indicator. But when James Haim does a house call, he turns first to the built-in instrument that he is never without: his nose.
    He must be alert to the smells of things such as mold, mildew and new building materials before they fade into the background.
    Through his new business, Healthy Living Diagnostics, Haim conducts building checkups aimed at making sure buildings aren't making their occupants sick. He focuses largely on indoor air quality and the presence of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) that might pose health hazards for those inside.
    Haim, a builder and former Ashland High School teacher, is a "building biology environmental consultant," a title designated by certification from the International Institute for Bau-Biologie & Ecology. IBE, which began in the 1980s in the United States, grew out of German efforts to study building-related health issues following World War II.
    Haim, 48, first heard about the potential health effects of electromagnetic fields when he was a builder 15 or 20 years ago.
    "I laughed; I scoffed, just didn't believe it," he said.
    But after a year of intensive study and seminars leading to his certification, he has become a believer.
    "People's health is definitely being impacted by electromagnetic fields," he said.
    A spirited international debate continues, he acknowledged, about the health impacts of EMFs from cellphones and other technologies, with no consensus yet in sight.
    When Haim starts his assessment of a building, he begins online, researching local factors that may affect a building and its occupants, such as nearby communications antennae and power substations. Once on site, he will do a thorough visual check of the roof, foundation and drainage, looking for any signs of mold or water intrusion.
    Haim offers a whole-home survey for $375, which takes three to six hours, and a "sleeping sanctuary" inspection for $145, which includes a bedroom and the nearest bathroom. Both inspections come with a written report and advice on how to fix problems he finds.
    He recently inspected the two-story home of Erik Wallbank and Toni DiLeo, which they built on Harrison Street in Ashland 13 years ago. DiLeo said they wanted Haim to come "because I know we have a lot of electronics in our house," and they had heard about EMF issues.
    Haim used various devices to assess the air quality for leaking natural gas or formaldehyde and then took readings for EMFs, first in the kitchen, then throughout the first floor.
    No real issues surfaced until the upstairs bedrooms.
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