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Mason welcomes Nicole Bijlsma onto the podcast today. Nicole is building biologist who single handedly established the building biology industry in Australia. After 15 years of clinical practice as a Naturopath and Acupuncturist, Nicole switched things up, changing her career pathway after noticing a strong correlation between the ill health of many of her patients and the health hazards they were exposed to in their homes. Nicole is a ball of passion, knowledge and insight, delivering the cold hard facts about environmental hazards such as 5G, EMFs, mould and more! Truly a woman on a mission, Nicole has great zeal for raising awareness and educating individuals on how they can create health in their body, homes and general environments.
Mason and Nicole discuss:
- Identifying health risks in the home.
- The health impacts of EMF exposure.
- The myths around EMF shielding equipment and technology.
- Building biology, what it is and what a building biologist does.
- 5G and why the configuration of the network is problematic for health.
- The data on heavy metal load and electromagnetic sensitivity in humans.
- The origin of 5G technology, why it was developed and what it was used for.
- New home technology and exposure standards; human safety vs profit.
- The importance of a healthy lifestyle and home environment in cultivating resilience against EMF exposure.
- The relationship between immune deficiency, mould, EMFs and chemical sensitivity.
- The concept that the home or building we spend most of our time in, being like a third layer or extension of our skin.
- The importance of taking a full case history when working to identify the root cause of chronic disease, and how the mainstream medical system fails us in this regard.
Who is Nicole Bijlsma?
Healthy Home Expert, Nicole Bijlsma is a building biologist, bestselling author, PhD candidate and CEO of the Australian College of Environmental Studies (RTO 21740) which she established in 1999 to educate people about the health hazards in the built environment. Nicole has published in peer reviewed journals, has written extensively for Body+Soul newspaper, is regularly consulted by the media to discuss mould, electromagnetic fields and toxic chemicals, and lectures in Australia and internationally at medical conferences about environmental health issues. Nicole's research involves identifying the impact of toxicants on human health, creating clinical tools to assist practitioners to identify health hazards in the built environment and investigating the impact of wireless technologies on brain and sleep function.
Check Out The Transcript Below:
Nicole, thank you so much for joining us.
Nicole Bijlsma: (00:02)
Good to be back, Mason.
Yeah, it's been about three years. We're on the SuperFeast Podcast and well it's been three years since you were on the Mason Taylor Show. Now we're on the SuperFeast Podcast, really stoked to be introducing to a much wider audience at this point. So I'm just really excited to share the work around Building Biology, the amount of people who have given me feedback around your book, and just how much it's become a staple for them, and just with really great grounded information. I really want to get this whole community and crew onto it. So let's just dive into it. It's a crazy time in the world. What's taking up a lot of your world and your focus at the moment?
Nicole Bijlsma: (00:54)
Well, mould and electromagnetic fields take up most of my time, but I'm currently in the last year of my PhD, and I'm doing a randomised, controlled crossover study that's double-blind, which involves exposing 14 healthy adults to a baby monitor for two weeks. So it's second and fourth week during the intervention weeks, and they don't know if it's on or off, and seeing if it has an impact on their brainwaves, their heart rate variability and their sleep function. So we're currently crunching the numbers as we speak and hopefully by the end of the year there'll be a paper out of it.
So immediately what I'm thinking is, "How long have baby monitors been a thing?" Here's a technology that was willy-nilly introduced and allowed and encouraged to be put next to newborns. Yet how many decades are we down the track, and have there been many studies like this that have been double-blind placebo and empirical?
Nicole Bijlsma: (01:51)
Very little. Very little like this.
So I mean this immediately throws us into a huge conversation around, as you were saying, being the focus of EMF. Everyone's in their home and that's why I wanted to have this conversation. A Building Biologist locally in the area, Rhys, when he first came to our place and we were dealing with some mould. That was four years ago when he came and chatted to us about the house being that third layer of skin and he was teaching us about Building Biology a little bit more. Since then he's come and done an audit of our new warehouse in Mullumbimby in-
Definitely recommend people tune in with a qualified Building Biologist for commercial reasons as well. But it is a third layer of skin, our skin, our clothes, and then our house. And everyone's in the home right now and everyone's looking around and everyone's trying to rest and relax and finding there's some blockages in their way, and looking, "Oh wow, we're living in this plethora of technology." Yet, you're talking about something as simple and as innocent as a baby monitor, and yet there's a reason for you to be studying to see if it has ill effect on an adult and their brainwaves, and I'm sure in other variables. What's going on here with the need to review a technology decades down the track, rather than there being a watchdog or an Ombudsman to ensure that this technology isn't detrimental as it's being rolled out?
Nicole Bijlsma: (03:20)
Well, that's a good question in relation to exposure standards. Exposure standards are not health-based standards. They're developed in compromise with industry to see what's practicable in a work place. There are no standards for residential settings because you can't suit yourself living in your own home. So unfortunately consumers wrongly assume when they go to the Telstra stores, Optus stores, et cetera, that because it's on the shelf it must have been tested, when in fact that couldn't be further from the truth. The way in which exposure standards are developed is manufacturers can put, whether it's telecommunications or agriculture, pharmaceuticals, not so much pharmaceuticals. But chemical industries can put products onto the supermarket shelf with very little testing because the burden of proof isn't on them to prove its safe. It's on researchers like me to spend their life to prove if it's dangerous.
Nicole Bijlsma: (04:14)
And of course we have lots of examples in history where public health doesn't exist. Asbestos. We had potters from hundreds of years ago, with lung related diseases, exposed to asbestos because it's naturally found in the ground when they were cobbing, you know, using pottery et cetera. Whitman was a good example, where people were exposed to all of these asbestos fibres. And of course the latency period is 37 years or so. So it's the same with electromagnetic fields. We actually know how electromagnetic fields affect the human body at a cellular level, but we don't know what it is about the field that's triggering this type of reaction.
Nicole Bijlsma: (04:55)
So with exposure standards, they're not health-based. Public health in this arena does not exist. They are waiting to see, and this is where they hide, that, "Until it's conclusive we're not going to do anything about it," because there's too many trillions of dollars to make. And that's the problem. Consumers probably think, "Oh, it must have been tested and it must be safe before it's there." In fact, it's the opposite, and that's why I set up the Australian College of Environmental Studies, a registered trading organisation, to train people to educate the masses that they can't make informed choices because they don't understand that these exposure standards are developed in consultation with the industry that's selling the product.
So where do you focus in Building Biology and for yourself now? Here and now, what are you focusing on in the house? Some staples to ensure that we're at least not overly exposing ourselves. What's in our control?
Nicole Bijlsma: (05:54)
Yeah, so basically if anybody just goes in and identifies other hazards in a built environment that are affecting their health. The first thing a Building Biologist is trying to do is to take a thorough exposure history, an environmental exposure history. So we look at the client's symptoms, and the symptoms will guide us as to what to look for in the house. So we know, for example, with asthma and allergies we're looking at dust mite load, we're looking for cockroaches, we're looking for rodent droppings and urine. We're looking for the pets. We're looking for things like mould, which is one of the biggest triggers for asthma and allergies. If they've got fatiguing syndrome, autoimmune disease, it is again mould. It's huge. I think at least 40% of the housing stock in Australia has some degree of water damage, whether it's a smaller degree of water damage being small risk, higher degree of water damage means high risk. So, yes, this is a huge part.
Nicole Bijlsma: (06:46)
With electromagnetic fields I expect to see symptoms of specific headaches, palpitations, awareness of the heart beating, inability to sleep is a big one, fatigue, fibromyalgic type of symptoms. You know, these are the common symptoms. And ironically, once someone becomes mould sensitive, more often than not they become electrically sensitive. Once they become chemically sensitive they become more electrically and mould sensitive. I actually don't see the three of them as different because they all perpetuate each other. So the Building Biologist might be called in because a client has a concern about the smart metre, but we'll go in and see the visible mould, smell the damp odour, and we know that's going to affect their immune response to such a degree that they'll become more sensitive to other hazards like chemicals, electromagnetic fields from wireless technology, and of course, mould.
With electromagnetic fields, is this at all creeping into the mainstream, or are you finding resistance to your work? Just for instance, like Lyme disease, right. You might go to a hospital in Sydney, someone will laugh you out and just say, "It's in your head." Here in Byron Bay, going to a hospital that will give you Doxycycline because they'll be able to recognise the eschar. So it's creeping up in the awareness and the acknowledgement. Do you know where the acknowledgment is at within the, for lack of a better word, mainstream medical system?
Nicole Bijlsma: (08:15)
Well, they're not taught to take an exposure history, so if you don't ask the right questions you're never going to get the answers. And this is the problem. I published a study a couple of years ago with Professor Marc Cohan, interviewing the top environmental doctors in Australia and New Zealand who specialise in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and environmental sensitivities to see what are the best tests to identify toxic load. And the only thing they agreed on was that taking a thorough environmental exposure history is the most important thing a doctor can do, and none of them were trained to do it. They had to develop it themselves as a result of listening to their patients over many decades, to come up with their own exposure history.
Nicole Bijlsma: (08:55)
And what we find with people, by the time they're diagnosed with an environmental sensitivity like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome... MS, I would say a lot of the patients I see with MS have significant mould related issues and biotoxin issues from Lyme disease et cetera, or stealth infections, is to take a proper, thorough history. And this takes 90 minutes. Now the medical system isn't geared to actually doing that. So for them to do it they could risk being deregistered because Medicare, really, they're geared in their trade to deal with acute diseases, which is great. But when it comes to chronic illnesses it's failing miserably, as everyone knows. And even across health industries, whether it's Naturopathy, Kinesiology, Chiropractics, we're not training them to take an environmental exposure history, so we don't understand that a lot of fibromyalgia and fatiguing syndrome we see is actually due to health hazards in the built environment.
I mean it's such a symptom of our reductionist mentality that we're not a part of the environment that we live in. And it's one thing to be like what the medical system would see as just being a hippy, thinking you're going to be connected to the natural environment around you. But just the concept that you're not even going to be affected, no way, by the environment of the room that you're sleeping in every night, it gets a little bit ludicrous. And to think that that could be a mentality and that could be a way that you see the world. But it's understandable, as you say. They just don't get taught it. It's just not in their training, is it?
Nicole Bijlsma: (10:24)
Well, that's the thing. A lot of the data on electromagnetic fields, mould, and chemicals is actually not in medical journals. When I went to publish this study about how the doctors assess toxic load, it was rejected by the medical journals as not relevant. So it got published in an environmental journal, where the doctors don't read it. This is the conundrum. They're not interested in getting to the root cause of the illness because it doesn't provide dividends for shareholders. And unfortunately, the longer I'm in this industry the more I realise it's about money.
Absolutely. It is about money. So the big topic going around at the moment is 5G. And I feel pretty cruisy. We did a podcast about it recently and the one thing I share about most of these things is I like keeping a level head about my reaction and the way that I'm relating to EMF in my environment, or if there's going to be toxic exposure. As long as I can be really level and cool and chill about it so I'm not causing more endocrine and nervous system stress through my reaction. Then I'll kind of go forth and start considering. So I like having level conversations about 5G because it seems like in the extended internet world or Murdoch press world, is if you even mention it in any kind of questioning of 5G, then immediately you're in the camp of thinking that 5G causes COVID and all that kind of thing, which I just don't even want a part of that conversation.
The part of the conversation I'm really interested in is in the context of what's going on now with yourself studying baby monitors, rather than testing 5G layered on top of 4G, or just for that matter, any new technology. How about we just slow down, think of a way, test it on humans, get it greener if possible. As you said, I know that's not a realistic thing to ask of a big conglomerate because all they want is money. Nonetheless, just to kind of reiterate, or I'd like to hear from your perspective. What is the stance of Building Biology, or the request or where you're trying to move in the direction of as these new technologies get introduced into the environment?
Nicole Bijlsma: (12:57)
Yeah, well, 5G of course is very different to the other four generations because it's going to involve near instant connectivity, ultra low latency, so there's virtually no lag. I mean because who doesn't want to download 600 feature films a minute? Sarcastically.
Yeah. Oh, yeah.
Nicole Bijlsma: (13:21)
You know, 50 times bandwidth compared to the 4G, and connects billions of devices on the internet of things. The problem is that this generation is very different to the previous four insofar as that the infrastructure's very different. You need antennas every 50 to 200 metres from your home, because they're using millimetre wave radiation, which is incredibly small waves. And the reality is I don't even think it's going to work in Australia because a Eucalyptus tree will block the frequency. So unless you have a direct line of sight it's going to be difficult. And if you've got a lot of metal in your home that could reflect it as well, which could be a good thing, providing you don't have internet connection inside.
Nicole Bijlsma: (13:58)
In terms of health effects, this is the contention. It's because it's high millimetre wave radiation, it's a different frequency, and that means there's actually very little data on its impact on health. The research that has been conducted has shown that it affects the skin temperature. It does alter gene expression. It does promote oxidative stress, which is what we know about all the other forms of electromagnetic fields, whether it's AC magnetic fields from current or radio frequencies from all your wireless devices. It causes oxidative stress. It acts on voltage-gated calcium channels, results in calcium influx in the cell, which results in all these free radicals. And once that overwhelms the cell, and there's not enough antioxidants then the mitochondria become affected and eventually the cell dies.
Nicole Bijlsma: (14:44)
But in terms of the physical diseases, only the research that's conclusive says that it causes eye damage and cataracts. That's been really thoroughly studied in rodent studies since the 1960s, that it causes cataracts, because it hits... Because the eyes lack sufficient blood flow they can't dissipate the heat quick enough so it causes oxidative stress and cataracts. It also acts on the sweat ducts in the skin. And this is why it was developed by the military for crowd control. When you have 5G or high millimetre wave radiation projected towards a human it affects the sweat ducts because they act as helical antennas. It vibrates the two to five million sweat ducts and causes to heat from the inside out, which is really uncomfortable, which is why when you use it for crowd control people disperse very quickly.
Wow. And that's like an actually proved in-use measure for crowd control?
Nicole Bijlsma: (15:42)
Yeah, and that's what it was developed for. It was a [inaudible 00:15:46] device for the military. Absolutely. That's the problem. So long term exposure, we're not really sure, because this is the thing. We introduce a product like asbestos and we go, "There's no side effects." It's the poor dog defence. "My dog doesn't bite. 5G doesn't bite." You telecommunications say to us, "You prove it's dangerous, but we're going to keep it and expose it to the population for decades until you prove conclusively." That's freaking ridiculous.
Nicole Bijlsma: (16:15)
They should be required to prove conclusively that it's safe. And yet this is not the way capitalist society works. And unfortunately that's the problem. So there isn't a lot of data. I hear there's some coming out more and more, certainly in related studies, that it has significant adverse health effects at an animal study level. But of course the telecommunications will use animal studies to prove that something is safe for them, but then dismiss it when you show that it's dangerous. So that's the problem.
Nicole Bijlsma: (16:44)
Now, as I mentioned, with existing radio frequencies in our wireless devices we know how they affect the body at a cellular level. You know, they suppress melatonin from the blue light. They increase oxidative stress. They cause permeability of the blood-brain barrier, et cetera. That's really well established. They increase the risk for glioma and acoustic neuroma brain tumours if you use them on one side of the head for five years for two hours or more a day. That's really well established and we've all moved on from that. The problem is that we're introducing millimetre wave radiation that was developed by the military for crowd control. There is quite a bit of study since the 60s on rodents and the impact on skin and of course cataracts and eyes.
Nicole Bijlsma: (17:28)
And the problem with skin is that it's so high in mast cells. Olle Johannson was one of the first researchers to show that exposure to VDUs of computers in the 80s in Sweden causes this skin rash, because there's so many mast cells in the skin, because that's your immune system. It's that line of defence. This millimetre wave radiation stimulates the degranulation of our cells and a sympathetic nerve response, which is your body going, "Oh my God, something's attacking me. Quick, fight or flight." So we do know that that's how it reacts. But unfortunately we need a lot more research on this, which is why they should be delaying the roll out until they prove conclusively that it is safe, which they won't be able to do.
You see, this is the funny backwards propaganda driven brainwashing that occurs. And you bring up the fact of asbestos a couple of times, and I had an uncle who passed away from a proven asbestos-based lung cancer through working on the brakes of jets. And it got to that point where it was like, you know, and a bunch of his buddies as well that were working on the tarmac as well, they went down. And so you go to try and get a little bit of cash to help you support your family from a particular airline and they've got a whole sector of lawyers within the company just ready to defend themselves to make sure that they're not going to have to pay out one iota to any of these people. They're just trying to find anything to prove that they're not the ones that need to be held accountable, when it's quite obvious.
And that kind of thing has impacted many people, whether it's DDT, it's lead paint, whatever it is. It's cigarettes being promoted to pregnant women. Whatever it is, the company is just able to go ahead with it. And everyone can look back into the past with now 20/20 vision and see that, "Yes, that was probably something we should have curbed and maybe got a little bit proven before we'd just given free rein to the marketers." But just here in Mullumbimby it's been interesting with the 5G going up.
There's of course a part of the population, you know the ones, which people would label as the trippers who, you know, they can go out there. They're imaginative and they're trying to be off in their mind trying to pull all the different, the web of things that are going on in the world, but they're going and they're doing their thing. They're a small part of the community that's been standing up against 5G rollout, and we were lucky enough to have one of the shires that said, "You know what, Telstra? No." There's been so much backlash of people just requesting, "Hey, can you prove this technology is safe before you roll it out?" because, as you were saying, like many things, we don't want decades down the track to have to roll that back. Now in order to-
Nicole Bijlsma: (20:20)
Thank God for the people like you and a minority of the population who are actually making informed choices and taking the time to actually critically think and question what they've being fed, and look at the data and the research.
Well, what's very sad is that if you oppose it, immediately what you're going to get painted as is an absolute paranoid tripper that thinks 5G is causing COVID-19 and you're off on another planet and you're just a basic scallywag and you're a dirty hippy, is the way that it's literally being painted here.. I feel like it's the design, right. It makes people scared to stand up and just say, "Hey, excuse me, I've got a reasonable request here," as our council did, and then I think on a federal level it got overrun.
So surprise, surprise, Telstra just shows up and goes, "We're putting it up." And thankfully we've got a crew that really got onto the ground quickly. And we're starting to talk about PR wise, "Hey, guys, what are we actually talking about here?" Exactly what you're saying. "Listen, please just prove your technology that you're going to make billions of dollars out of is really safe. That's all." That's all. Prove us wrong. It would be amazing, which they won't be able to do, as you said. It's interesting how that very grounded request, there's enough brainwashing to make people think that you're absolutely batshit crazy for doing what should have been done with asbestos, right.
Nicole Bijlsma: (21:54)
Oh, absolutely. Look, and in terms of the relationship to COVID, look there's very little data to support at this point. Maybe there is. I haven't seen it, and I haven't really got a comment on it, because I haven't read or seen anything credible that I can comment on the relationship between exposures to COVID-19 and electromagnetic fields. What does concern me is that we know people sensitive to electromagnetic fields have more metal in their body. Now where does the metal come from? It comes from amalgams and dental work. It also comes from eating high levels of fish, and aluminium and Thimerosal from vaccines. So it's interesting that a lot of these people, like kids on autism, have very high levels of aluminium in their body. A recent paper showed very high levels. And it isn't coming from their deodorants because they're only four when they're diagnosed. So where is it coming from? This is what we need to start thinking about.
Nicole Bijlsma: (22:48)
For me the most important thing we can do as consumers moving forward is to keep as healthy as possible. Get out into the sunshine. Keep your house as clean as possible insofar as fresh air. A healthy home smells like fresh air. It's devoid of any artificial fragrances and smells, that you live in a bushy environment. Your house is like a dry mediterranean environment, so there's no moisture or dampness in the house, and that you have a healthy, preferably organic, diet, that you know your farmers. You know where the food is coming from so it's as clean as possible. Regular exercise, good mental outlook. I mean that's what health is. You don't need to wait til you're sick to get all this other stuff. I mean nature cure has been around a long time, and I think if people just follow basics. And they know in terms of their diet if they're crap or not. They need to act on that. They need to do exercise, et cetera. Keeping healthy is the most important way to reduce your exposures to infection and of course to deal with environmental changes in your environment, whether it's electromagnetic fields.
Nicole Bijlsma: (23:51)
I want to make a point about EMFs. Certainly 5G, I'm completely anti because I can't prove it's safe. I get it. And the infrastructure is really concerning. But what we find, as Building Biologists, is that exposures happen the closer they are to the body. So people might have an issue about something outside of the house, but the reality is their highest exposures happen from devices inside the house closest to their person. That's the cell phone. That's the digital device. People often don't want to hear that. They're too busy wanting to blame someone for something else when in fact their exposures are happening in the highest power output from their cell phone, from their iPad, from their wireless device, from their speakers, from their printers right on their workstation.
Nicole Bijlsma: (24:32)
So as Building Biologists, 95% of our role is to educate people. Yes, that is an issue, the smart metre, but look at the power output. It's very low at your favourite couch or in your bedroom. What's very high here is that you've got your phone under your pillow at night time and this is what it's doing. And that's going to have a far greater impact on your health than what's happening outside of your house. So let's start with common sense, what's closest to your person, and work our way out, because that's where the greatest harm is going to happen.
I love it so much. I love that you focused on your health and your sun exposure and your great diet and all the things. Hydration being the number one place where you're actually going to be able to make a difference in your own life, rather than going, "Which EMF blocking device do I need to go out and buy in order to block me?" I like that as a fun extension and cherry on top when you can be kind of speculative, because from what I understand it's very speculative, that field at the moment, of what's-
Nicole Bijlsma: (25:37)
Oh my God, there's so many people out there. Big rule of thumb. If someone comes to test your house and shield, don't do it. They might only charge $200 and have all the fandangled equipment, but they'll charge you thousands in shielding that you probably don't need. That is a massive conflict of interest for someone to come in, test your house for EMFs, and then con you into tens of thousands. We find this all the time. There's a company out there doing four-day courses and now everyone's an EMF expert, using instruments that aren't actually that great. And then testing for electric fields, which aren't even a problem, and conning people to spend $20,000/30,000 on shielding. Shielding is a disaster. Shielding is a last resort. And the reason is because when you start using shielding paint to attenuate radio frequencies you will often magnify the electric field. With people with electrical sensitivity, that's going to make them worse.
Nicole Bijlsma: (26:29)
I find many of these people have spent thousands of dollars with this company and all their graduates, and they can't live in their house anymore. That is the big problem. So shielding doesn't work effectively 100%. Certainly, it often makes other things worse. So that's a problem. And that's why you always, whoever's testing your house should never be the one selling you the shielding stuff, because then you'll get an independent opinion and the $600 or $800 you spend on testing properly could save you tens of thousands of dollars in unnecessary shielding.
That's something that's always evident. I've chatted to yourself and had interactions with Rhys and then my friend, Damien, over in WA, and SuperHealth is a big promoter of Building Biology as well. And the ethics are through the roof. It's something I've been having a conversation about a lot in different fields, in different expertise and in businesses, and definitely in government, the voidance of ethics, because when you're in like a quick fix you want systemic change and you can project your apathy onto your desire and your blame of everyone else because you need systemic change. And you know unless that happens then you're going to be a victim. "Poor little me," versus going, "Well, yes, I'm going to work for that, but I'm also going to work for that personal change massively and start actually taking responsibility for this." There's a huge difference there.
And I think it's sometimes boring for people to hear that the onus is on yourself and the biggest thing is that you can go and whinge about 5G all you want. And I am definitely not saying that because you use technology you don't have a right to say, "I think we should improve things a little bit." I think that's not a valid conversation. But nonetheless going, "How about I learn how to responsibly use the technology that's in my house," and acknowledge the fact that it is probably going to be causing more damage than that that's outside systemically.
Nicole Bijlsma: (28:33)
Oh, absolutely. Definitely. And that's a hard one for some people to swallow. Like I have my cell phone and I love my cell phone, but I know how to use it and reduce my exposure. So I will never put it near my head per se when I'm making calls. It's always arm's length away, normally with the earpiece, for example, loudspeaker and text as often as I can, because there's no way I'm going to put high frequency radio frequencies right near my head, for that reason.
Nicole Bijlsma: (29:03)
So I'm making an informed choice, and that's the thing I train my Building Biologists in the Advanced Diploma is that, "Your role is to educate people. What they do with that information is up to them. If they don't want to follow it that's not your business. They're paying you for your time. You give them the information. Now they can make an informed choice." If they continue to use their devices, like me, I love this, that I don't have to be in my office. I can be from home to work et cetera. I love it. But that's an informed choice. I dye my hair. That's an informed choice. I know exactly what risks are involved.
Nicole Bijlsma: (29:35)
So that's really ultimately what my goal is when I set up the college and the Building Biology industry, is to help people make informed choices because most people can't even do that because they don't understand the system is flawed. The exposure standards, which we started with, are not health-based standards. And that's why it's important that a lot of the work we do is to actually educate people. And simple things like move furnishing around. If you have to have a wireless router, let's put it in the room that's not being used and attenuate it by reducing the radiation by 95%, by getting onto the manufacturer's website and this is how we can reduce this. Yeah, you've got a wireless router, and use it in a way that you can use the internet on two or three rooms in the house so it's not bathing the whole house.
Nicole Bijlsma: (30:20)
So we look at what the client's lifestyle is and go, "Okay, what are you willing to accept as a risk? This is what the hazards are. Now let's work together to reduce your risk in light of what you've just told me." It's not saying, "Slap on the wrist. Everyone get to Nimbin in a hamtent with bare feet and that's all you've got. There's no other choice." No, of course not. I choose to live with risks, get in a car knowing that it could be a coffin on wheels, et cetera. But at least I make an informed choice. That's what consumers don't understand is, most of them can't make an informed choice because they don't understand that the system's flawed and it's certainly not geared for public health.
Absolutely not. And it's funny because I feel like it's quite common knowledge and everyone knows that a huge business only gives a shit about its profits, and the government isn't there to keep you really safe. I feel like it's an increasingly small, baby boomer kind of portion of the population that still really full-heartedly believes that the government's there to really keep you safe with integrity. Yet, this hasn't clicked over. And I feel like we're getting there, the fact that there are no standards for health here. And I think something you bring up, sometimes people just don't want to hear it. It's a little bit too much. I think that's a huge part of it as well. Acknowledging the fact that there's no standard for the fact we're heading towards smart cities. We're heading towards these huge technological rollouts and hey, we haven't paused and actually checked whether these are safe, and maybe they don't care and you've got to burden that. That's a huge one.
And then your distinction, I think, is something for everyone to take here today, is like informed consent. At least when I know that I go in my car, if I take my phone off aeroplane mode I'm in a big metal box, and just having Rhys explain that all that is, is it's just bouncing around inside. And that's okay, but I'd probably recommend you don't stream YouTube or podcasts if you go in there. Huge. Huge thing. And I don't find myself being hypocritical if I'm doing it and I'm still asking for upgrades, and for everyone to slow down. But if I'm not comfortable with the decisions I'm making and I don't have integrity with my own decisions and I'm complaining externally, it definitely lands the responsibility back on my shoulders.
Nicole Bijlsma: (32:52)
Absolutely. You mentioned a confined space like a metal carriage - tram, bus, truck, car. Imagine that as a house. You've built an energy efficient house with a metal roof, metal cladding around the side and a steel concrete slab. There's no way you should have wireless technology in there because it creates, like you said, the microwave oven effect. So it's reflecting and refracting off all those surfaces. So how you build that house is really important. That's why Building Biologists can be very useful. There's only a handful of Building Biologists that actually have the skills because it's an elective in the course on how to build healthy homes and work with architects.
Nicole Bijlsma: (33:33)
But if you've got a lot of metal in the house then you should not be having any wireless device in that home because it will be bouncing off and creating hotspots in that space. So hardwired would be your best option. So understanding the interaction between the built environment and its impact on the electro climate of the house is really important. And that's something that we think about at the design stage, based on the client's lifestyle, whether they're willing to have hardwired or whether they only want wireless devices. That's fine but then it comes at cost. And that's what we educate them so they can make an informed choice.
Nicole Bijlsma: (34:03)
And that's the thing. It's the synergistic impact. And, as I said, when people are in a damp environment, mould, now they could become more electrically sensitive, more chemically sensitive. So this is why we have to integrate. Well, you shouldn't be using pesticides in the house because you're exposed to a lot of that, that you've got to get rid of it and dry up that mould and get to the source of the moisture and get rid of all that fungal particulate, that exposure to that EMF.
Nicole Bijlsma: (34:27)
So more often that not it's this accumulation effect over a lifetime, whether it's a combination of a tick bite early on in life, very poor diet throughout their teens or recreational drugs, and things like being exposed to high levels of electromagnetic fields because they're an electrician and then they go into a damp house and now they're sick. Well, that threshold has built up over years. And that's typically what happens before people are actually diagnosed with environmental sensitivity. So as Building Biologists, even though we say we can do an EMF audit, a mould audit, the reality is we could come in with the whole toolbox because the client doesn't know what they don't know. So when we walk in, based on their symptoms I know what to look for that I need to exclude, and it could be any one of those issues.
It makes sense. It makes absolute sense. It's annoying when you're in a western go, go, go, go kind of way of living to be like, you know, all that stress you're going to accumulate and potentially... Of course, we know stress and pathogens and mould infection and that kind of stuff is going to eventually cause compromisation within the immune system and the endocrine system. And if you've got that from a robust teenager, 20-year old, don't really notice it. A little bit more when you're in your 30s, 40s, oh, it's getting a little bit harder. All right, now we start.
Nicole Bijlsma: (35:49)
Oh, 40s and 50s it catches up with you, all the stuff from your 20s and teens.
Got to pay your debt, yeah.
Nicole Bijlsma: (35:58)
Pay your debt. Exactly right. Exactly right. But the more you can address those issues the more resilient you'll be for the environment. Now the environments change enormously because of the EMFs. We've talked about mould potentially. Chemical exposures, with each generation it's just worse and worse. Our immune systems are getting really bogged down with a lot of these hazards, which is why we have all these autoimmune diseases, fatiguing syndromes, et cetera. But the message is always to go back to basics, which is what I've mentioned before in terms of your stress, lifestyle, good diet, good attitude, and a relatively dry and healthy home that's free of chemicals.
The dry and healthy home, I think, is the one that doesn't land on that. "You guys know how to stay healthy. Drink your water, get lots of sunlight, have a dry home." That's like-
Nicole Bijlsma: (36:44)
Healthy home. Filtered water, very, very important. You don't want chlorine in your gut microbiome. Yeah. You could do a whole podcast on water, Mason.
Well, I've actually got a water series coming up and that's something that I [crosstalk 00:36:58]
Nicole Bijlsma: (36:57)
And I thought about you. So I will. We'll book in another podcast and we can go all through that because I think water filters is a thing you get 10 experts and you get 12 answers as to what the best filter is going to be. So I mean having a podcast where our aim isn't to give the recommendations, just to give all the knowledge, so then they can take that and run with it.
Nicole Bijlsma: (37:20)
And what you're saying, hydration, sunlight, a dry... What was it? A dry, cool home?
Nicole Bijlsma: (37:26)
Mediterranean-like environment, yeah.
Mediterranean-like environment. What I like about that distinction of you're going to accumulate that, whether it's the permeability of the brain barrier, I think you were saying, through EMF exposure is one of these things. And let's try and get these studies in the show notes as well so people can go and cross-reference them themselves. Just like that exposure being accumulative and immunosuppressive potentially, or definitely, on the other side of the coin you get to accumulate all those benefits with all those exposure to the natural elements and all that you're doing for your health. What I like about this approach is that it's always going and then you can head in this direction, and it's just as good as it gets just as bad over there.
Nicole Bijlsma: (38:21)
And how amazing is the body? It's so resilient to deal with all these onslaughts. So by the time it hits that threshold there's been a lot of onslaughts. And of course with genetics that does play a role. But we now know, since they've mapped the human genome in 2002, that genetics loads the gun but the environment pulls the trigger. Most SNPs and gene variants some people have and MTHFR would be completely irrelevant if they weren't exposed to toxic environments, because they've been in the gene pool for thousands of years. So that's the thing. It's the environment that's changed that's brought it out. Oh, you've got SNPs, heterozygous SNPs or homozygous SNPs in these detoxification pathways, so you're far more susceptible to these chemicals. But three generations ago no one was exposed to those chemicals so it wasn't important. Do you know what I mean? So that's why you've got to reduce the exposures to the electromagnetic fields and the mould and the chemicals and the perfumes and the air fresheners and the pesticides and plastics and the four Ps, which I talk about in the book.
Yeah, I was just going to say, I was going to have the book to hold up, but someone had checked it out of the SuperFeast library, which is good. It's one of the ones that yeah, healthy home, healthy family-
Nicole Bijlsma: (39:32)
I think another one for your library.
Nicole Bijlsma: (39:32)
I think it's through Booktopia. Yep.
Nicole Bijlsma: (39:32)
Or my website.
I'm going to get another one because I need one for my house as well as in the office. It's one of those ones. It's one of those ones, guys, that's like mandatory reading and presence. And it's one of those fun ones as a coffee table book because it's not paranoid. It's just practical. And so it's a really good gift as well for someone that's just opening up. It's just calling a spade a spade, which is what I like about your work, I like about Building Biology, I like about the book, because it's approachable. So thanks for that.
Nicole Bijlsma: (40:10)
Thank you. Thank you. I'm currently developing a Healthy Home short course for the public, so videos and things like that. It will be very reasonably priced and it will be your room by room analysis of how to create a healthy home, room by room. So it's going to be a very practical series that will enable people to digest what I've got in the book, because you know this is quite evidence-based and there's quite a bit of scientific research on EMFs. I like the text but I'm going to simplify that and do it as a room by room analysis to help people with videos. Okay, how do we actually have food packaging that's healthy and drinking water and things like that? So that will come out within the next six months.
Okay, cool. Where's the best place to get on a newsletter list so they can be informed as soon as it's out?
Nicole Bijlsma: (41:00)
My website, buildingbiology.com.au. Lots of videos, lots of good content there that's very-
Yeah, and it's a good site. I haven't been on for about a year or so. But yeah, it's like super, super rich with resources. The interesting thing is that there's like, you don't have to invest anything to start out with this kind of stuff.
Nicole Bijlsma: (41:24)
You don't have to go out and buy the $2,000 device in order to be doing the right thing, blocking EMFs.
Nicole Bijlsma: (41:32)
Absolutely. Absolutely. Knowledge is key. Absolutely.
Amazing. Are you, yourself, Building Biology, on any social media platforms as well?
Nicole Bijlsma: (41:43)
Well, I have a Facebook site where I post things from time to time, bit slack on that. And of course the Australasian Society of Building Biologists has a Facebook site for the public as well. And of course the college, I've got quite a bit of information there as well and the Australian College of Environmental Studies where people can do individual courses. Like there's this fabulous subject called Children's Environmental Health and it's really good. If you're really loving my book then it's like a snippet of everything, the Building Biology course, like allergens, electromagnetic fields, all of that sort of thing. So that's a really good place to start for people who actually want to get more detail and videos and things like that.
I think it cut out just a tiny bit there. Is there a college website that people can check out?
Nicole Bijlsma: (42:26)
Because if you want to do this as a career, if you're young and listening to this or want to consider this kind of path, this is on. This is a legit career path.
Nicole Bijlsma: (42:39)
So where are they going to get that information?
Nicole Bijlsma: (42:42)
So it's called the Australian College of Environmental Studies and the website is aces.edu.au. It's an Advanced Diploma of Building Biology, two years full-time, four years part-time. But there are individual subjects people can do. Like if you want to come here as a mould testing technician, that's one subject, four days, 12 weeks online, and you're earning up to a $1,000 a day. So that's amazing compared to what most naturopaths earn doing a $60,000 degree. It's the same with electromagnetic field testing technicians. Four days on campus, 12 weeks online, [inaudible 00:43:17]. And Children's Environmental Health, a great subject on looking at the health hazards in your home thoroughly in order to make informed choices about what's going on.
And it's been cool to see so many practitioners branching out and making that a part of their expertise as well. It makes sense. As you're saying, it makes sense to be able to like get into the home. A lot of the time the practitioner in that really comprehensive 60 minute/90 minute consult isn't going to be able to actually tell you what's actually going on in their environment.
Nicole Bijlsma: (43:44)
So I love it. I appreciate your work, and I'm really excited we've connected on the water thing. So we'll have you. Yeah, that should just be a month or two. Phone wants you so I'm going to let you go.
Nicole Bijlsma: (43:55)
Yeah, thanks so much. We really appreciate you.
Nicole Bijlsma: (44:00)
Thank you so much for having me on.