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Respiratory: Allergies & Sinus Problems/Air Quality in Home Affected by Contents After a House Fire


Dear Mr. Sperling,
We had a house fire in May of 2012.  Our house suffered severe smoke damage and had to be gutted and rebuilt. I was treated for smoke inhalation at the scene. The insurance company covered the rebuilding process.  They also cleaned the items in the house and left them in storage for 8 months.  Upon receiving them back, they still have a faint smell of smoke and cleaning chemicals and make me cough.  The insurance company says they don't smell anything, but I do.  I guess not all noses are alike.  My daughter is asthmatic and so I have decided whether we see any money or not they items aren't coming back into the home.  I turned away items that contained large amounts of plastic, rubber, were electrical, upholstered, or a press board furniture item.  The insurance company said if it looks clean it is clean. I just don't understand...they had to tear the inside of my house down, and sand it down to the studs, spray it with primer, and rebuild, because of the toxins released in the smoke.  Wouldn't it be just as unsafe to take back everything that was inside, especially for a child who is asthmatic?  Am I being overly concerned and costing myself money? Looking forward to your insight.

Carrie...Oh Boy!

This is EXACTLY the reason that I exited my Respiratory Pharmacy and converted Breathe-Rite Air to a Testing Company dealing with Allergists/Immunologists.

The problems that you speak of are from the changes made in the nature of the chemical structures that have come about over the past 13 years. These changes have been enormous, uncontrolled, untested, and without and government intervention or oversight. And the fire treatments that you talk about or just a small grain of sand on the beach.

Modern solvents comprised of polar surfactants, and nano particles are being used along with odor masking agents to speed and consolidate, or bypass, many of the steps of remediation. This saves the remediation company much money. These chemicals are not only kept secretive, but also propriatary so as to not be able to assign responsibility for their effects.

Generally speaking, these chemicals are made extremely soluable to the point of complete absorption. In the skin, lungs and nasal passages. Those persons that don't smell them are just not aware of the masking chemicals which deaden the 1st Cranial nerve, or Olfactory Nerve. This is the nerve that transmits the sense of smell thru the nose to the brain.

Not only are these chemicals extremely absorbant but their very nature dictates that they are also very long lasting and with heat from the sun on a closed home they can give off vapors for a fairly good length of time.

Ask to see a list of all the chemicals that were used in the remediation of your home.

I must also mention another critical piece of equipment used in Fire remediation. Ozinators. These are lethal to any and all but especially those with asthma or breathing problems. There effects are also long lasting.

There is much more. No, you are not crazy.

Cheers, Gene  

Respiratory: Allergies & Sinus Problems

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Gene Sperling


I can answer questions about indoor air quality, respiratory medications, home toxins, allergies and VOC's (volatile organic compounds). Home and office environmental issues and general medication questions regarding side effects and interactions.


I have been a pharmacist for 30 years. I have been director of pharmacy services for a large teaching hospital, and have served as a consultant pharmacist to various out-patient programs. I have organized and managed various infusion programs treating infectious disease, immunologic diseases, and metabolic disorders. For the past 15 years I have operated a national respiratory pharmacy and devoted my time to assessing asthma, COPD, and emphysema patients and their problems. I know how to set-up and maintain a 'clean room' environment and I know how to resourcefully remediate environmental issues that cause health problems.

I am a current or past member of IAQA, IESO, CA Pharmacists Assoc., NCPA, Consultant Pharmacists Assoc., Calcerts, and many others. I have licensing from the GSA (Government Services Organization). I have served on the California Task Force for Disaster Preparedness under the Department of Health Services.

I am in the process of researching the application of Building Science as it relates to the Healthcare Industry. The purpose is to show the relationship(s) between 'sealed environments', poor construction, and improper equipment installations in modern homes and offices. The building boom of the 90's and 00's accelerated at a pace that did not allow proper oversight or adequate research of new techniques in construction design and the trades that applied them.

I have a degree in Pharmacy from the University of Oklahoma. I have upper division courses in bio-pharmaceutics, medicinal chemistry, organic chemistry, pharmacokinetics, toxicology, immunology, microbiology,etc. I have taken numerous post-graduate courses on respiratory disorders, mold, environmental issues, indoor air quality, building science, HVAC, clean room set-ups, womens health, and medication therapy management.

Awards and Honors
I have received a distinguished achievement award from the County of Los Angeles for work with the Asthma Reading & Education Program sponsered by the UCLA clinics and Martin Luther King Medical Center. I have sponsored winter ski retreats for children with asthma. I have served on the Boards of several home health agencies. My highest honor comes when I can help someone understand how their personal environment influences their health, and how their own awareness positively impacts their quality of living. There is no greater award than helping others.

Past/Present Clients
My past and current clients have been the thousands of patients and physicians that I have consulted for and with to assess alternative approaches to disease management through common sense treatment, and how our personal environment influences our overall health.

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