Old baseboard heater smells like menthol
sorry, no solution. but. we recently moved into a 1940's apt. which has these older electric baseboard heaters and if we run them, they put off a menthol/chemical odor -- which sounds like the same thing you are experiencing (so will be very much interested in seeing if there is a solution).
if we either a) leave the heater running (even on low out in the living room) while we sleep or run it all day and don't air out the apartment, we both have serious achy joints the next morning and lots of stomach acid/irritation throughout the nite - also dry, red irritated eyes. apparently the cat has something going on as well -- he will get up throughout the night and walk thru the apt. yowling (not normal for him, only after we moved and started using the unit).
it took us a couple of weeks to identify what seemed to be causing the problem (the baseboard unit) and another week to do enough testing to determine that yep, you run that puppy, you're going to be real sorry that nite/next morning (and you won't sleep much because of the yowling cat). turn it off, no menthol/chemical smell. no yowling cat. no throat, stomach, eye irritation/gradoo, joint aches or sinus stuff going on that nite/next morning.
our solution? turn it off and leave it off. we're using a small metal cased ceramic disc heater instead (recommended on those multiple chemical sensitivity sights - figure if it's good enough for them it's good enough for us).
interesting info on EPA site re: appliances we don't think much about. one study re: air cleaners/ionizers, etc. - they did a random test of all kinds/price range/quality of air cleaners. they found **without exception** that all air cleaners/ionizers they tested put out "dangerous levels of chemicals" (their words). their recommendation, until further testing could be done is that if you want clean air... open a window.
it got me to thinking about this heater thing. and i wonder how many people are on medications for stomach issues (acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, etc.), sleep problems, joint aches, etc. that are caused by the appliances we run in our homes for air control.
i'll leave you with one other statistic that may be related to all of this: according to the CDC, 67% of the u.s. adult population is on at least 4 medications. when you look at that, you wonder, ok how many of us are on at least 2 medications (85+%?).
doctors usually don't ask you about what kind of devices you are running in your house and whether you notice a pattern of symptom abatement when you turn them off. they just give you whatever it takes to mask your discomfort.
just a thought.
on Jan 07, 2010