Health problems - house making ill ? ?

We did an inspection for home owner who has been ill in recent years. She is disabled and has been having more problems with muscle control, neurology, etc. The muscle problems seem to be spreading through the family - brother, 15 yr old son, husband.

The house was built in 1973. They bought this rural property in 1999 which has a red-brick block house, 12x12 acoustic ceiling tile, fiberglass batt insulation in attic, and metal framework with metal sheeting roof. All rooms have wood paneling on the wall (wood layers, not composite). A private water well supplies water. Septic system. Propane heat pump HVAC system new installation in 2003.

I have thought about:
radon - not usually a threat in Uvalde county, TX
asbestos - possibly in ceiling tiles
formaldehyde - paneling
septic distance to well - 100’ or greater
soil problems

I also found info for forensic toxicologist’s in this part of TX.

If they were to investigate further, who do they call?
Any other ideas of things to look for?
Any suggestions welcome.


You might try your county health department or even DNR (department of natural resources) to help find the appropriate folks to test the soil and well.
If both father and mother,(not blood related), are experiencing the same symptoms this would make one think the problem is not genetic and quite possibly environmental.
It may or may not be"outside the scope" of what you should do as an HI…but concern and compassion for a fellow human has no scope.
You’re a good person for trying;-)


Another thought,and maybe someone here knows the answer.
Carbon monoxide is, as we know lethal, but can a smaller leak cause these sorts of health problems over a long period of time or are the effects always immediate ?
Have you considered lead? Hazzardous waste dump long since forgotten and leaching into soil or water? Arsnic in the well?


Lead in water?

Near by industry with chemical processes, no spill need be reported just used there…may leach into water system.

Whats in there garage, pesticides are notorious for nervous system issues.

Where do they work, chemical again, and then where do the wash there hands after working with chemicals? If its the Kitchen sink there may be some accidental mixing in food source.

Just some thoughts,


Perhaps a hidden mold problem. Had a similar instance with a rental property. The tenant’s kids and spouse getting all sorts of maladies. Seems water bed had a very small leak that kept moisture level high under bed and with the heater, it was nice and warm also. Mold was THICK. Everytime they opened the drawers built into the bed frame, they got a whiff of some pretty bad stuff. They didn’t find it until they were moving out.

VOC can be found in everything from carpet to tobacco, maybe A industrial hygienist they are used for sick building syndrome all the time to many variables water, mold, ozone, lead a hygienist

I’d be checking the well water for an assortment of chemicals and bacterias.

Does the home have a humidifier.
Did one today that was never cleaned .
It was loaded with scum and I have heard of them causing constant sickness.
Most homes in our area don’t need a humidifier and this was one for sure Efflorescence on basement walls .
Needed down spouts extended away from the home and more dirt around the out side Immediately.

..........., Cookie

radon - Radon can cause cancer, symptoms don’t sound like cancer.
asbestos - Causes asbestosis or cancer. Sypmtoms don’t sound like either, especially since asbestos in ceiling tiles is typically relatively stable.
formaldehyde- should have completed off-gassing long ago.
Metal roof framing- metal is a good thermal conductor, meaning that this attic may experience excessive condensation during the summer which could cause mold growth and high spore concentrations in indoor air.

Carbon Monoxide, contaminated drinking water, toxic chemicals in the soil, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s), high mold spore concentrations in indoor air from devices which introduce excessive moisture into the home or areas which might contain hidden leaks… these all sound like possibilities.

The fact that people of different genders, ages and of different genetic makeup who live under the same roof all have similar symptoms makes it sound like a reaction to exposure to some kind of toxin to me, but I’m not qualified to make a diagnosis or give advice in a situation like this.

Around here, local health departments don’t have the budgets to perform investigations. This is Industrial Hygienist (IH) territory, that’s what they do.

Some kinds of toxins can cause permanent damage. I’d strongly recommend an IH although a Forensic Toxicologist also sounds like a very good idea.

Slab foundation? If so, when was the last time the air ducts were cleaned? Underslab ducts that contain moisture, dirt and who knows what else are often prime breeding grounds for mold.