Pesticide Poisoning, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Lupus, Lyme, Neurological, Mold (Mycotoxin), MS, Metabolic Syndrome & All Manner of Environmental & Legal (System) Assaults Upon Human Health.
CHEMICAL-PESTICIDE DIFFUSION THROUGH CONCRETE
CHEMICAL/PESTICIDE DIFFUSION THROUGH CONCRETE: THIS MEANS THAT PESTICIDE/HERBICIDE SPRAYED ON THE GROUND ENTERS A RESIDENCE’S FOUNDATION SLAB AND POISONS ALL FAMILY MEMBERS!
A Study Showing That Concrete Is Highly Porous, Allowing the Penetration and Diffusion of Chemicals, Including Pesticides Into Homes. This means that any pesticide in the soil next to a building WILL migrate into that building via the foundation slab: The result is “Sick Building Syndrome”
Collated & written by Murray Thompson (BAppSci Environmental Health 1998, Hons I Social Ecology 1999, University of Western Sydney, Hawkesbury)
June 2004, February/April 2012
This study has been created in order to demonstrate clearly that available and reputable scientific studies and industry experience highlight the fact that concrete slabs upon which residences are situated are extremely porous, and to the extent that almost any chemical situated under or next to the slab (e.g. as in a termiticide chemical barrier treatment) will be absorbed by the slab.
I have produced this study to specifically emphasize that:
1. If you use Roundup or any other pesticide/herbicide, for example, around your home, then you are poisoning your family and your neighbors’ families. Your herbicide WILL enter all homes within reach, especially if those residences are situated on top of a concrete slab foundation.
2. it is much more than probable that the synthetic pyrethroid termiticide Biflex that was applied around, and immediately next to, the concrete slab under my Department of Housing (DOH) unit located at BLIGH PARK (north-west Sydney), on the 7th December 2000, diffused through that slab and outgassed into my unit as vapor for at least 1½ years after application (the period in which I could overtly smell an organic, kerosene-like odor inside my unit).
The presence, then, of the pesticide/solvent vapor in the living space of my unit resulted in the production of a series of extremely distressing poisoning symptoms over that period of time and beyond in both myself and my 8 year old child, and also in my neighbour (whose unit shared the same concrete slab as mine). At the very least, the gaseous solvent portion of the termiticide compound entered my unit via the foundation slab. Note that only just before my trial against the Department of Housing, which started in November 2010, I discovered that the builders of the unit had dumped unused concrete around the perimeter of the unit’s foundation slab. This concrete dump (which was joined to the slab) was immediately under where the Biflex pesticide was pumped during its main 7th Dec., 2000 application of hundreds of liters. See the following photos for evidence of this:
And see the following video evidence of the concrete dump joined to the foundation slab:
1. First, what is concrete?
“Concrete is a heterogeneous material constituted of a rigid skeleton with sand and aggregates embedded into a porous hydraulic binder. A hydraulic binder as Portland cement is a finely ground material which is first in a plastic and workable state on mixing with water and then reacts with water to form hydrates responsible for the rigidity. The concrete behavior is linked to the evolution of the cementitious matrix which can be considered as permanently aging material. Concrete is therefore the site of chemical, mechanical and physical events like hydration, moisture transfer or shrinkage that can cause premature cracking before any external loading occurs” (Lamour, Haouas & Moranville [online]).
“Concrete is a porous material. Therefore, moisture movement can occur by flow, diffusion, or sorption” (Advanced Cement Technologies [online]).
Concrete structures are thus highlighted as porous, ageing, and the site of mechanical and chemical events.
2. How ‘open’ or consistently spread are the pores or spaces inside concrete, and do these pores affect the concrete in any way?
“Concrete contains two types of pore: capillary and gel pores.
Capillary pores (approx) 1,3 um in size are the largest and form an interconnected system, randomly distributed throughout the binder, which provides a fairly direct path for aggressive ions. Gel pores on the other hand comprise some 28% of the gel, but are much smaller than capillary pores, and do not play a significant role in the permeability of the paste. However, they do have an impact on time dependent movements in concrete, such as shrinkage and creep” (Eagle Cement (Natal Portland Cement) [online]).
“The presence of capillary pores and air voids influence concrete permeability to a large extent. The ingress of aggressive agents into the pore structure is responsible for various durability problems in concrete structure. The deterioration of concrete in a structure is a result of several degradation mechanisms that [cause a decrease] in the integrity of the structure. The state of deterioration is often invisible and is only evident when there is a significant reduction in the load carrying capacity” (Sutan, Hamdan and Jin, 2002).
So, concrete, by its very nature, is porous. As well, concrete may then deteriorate “with chemical reactions of unhydrated cement and water, C3A and chloride ions, carbonic ions and calcium silicate hydrates” (Watanabe [online]).
Further: “Slab failures from caustic attack, in particular, can reduce the service life of slabs down to as little as five years, with most slabs providing an average life of only ten years, even though some predict a service life of 40 years with the application of current best practice” (CSIRO 2001 [online]).
There exist products designed specifically to take advantage of the porosity of concrete. One such product is named Xypex, which “is designed to penetrate and react with the mineral constituents of cement-based materials. It can be applied on concrete, concrete-block, cement stucco or the mortar between bricks” (Xypex Chemical Corporation 2002a [online]).
What is Xypex?
“XYPEX is a non-toxic, chemical treatment for waterproofing, repair and protection of concrete from a range of aggressive media, uniquely generating a non-soluble crystalline formation deep within the pores and capillary tracts of concrete” (Xypex Chemical Corporation 2002b [online]).
Xypex is therefore designed to penetrate concrete in order to prevent the concrete from allowing such penetration of fluids.
Without this protection concrete would be open to the ingress of any pesticide put in the soil next to or above/around the concrete. Conceivably also, pesticide sprayed in the air would also move into concrete structures.
3. By what process does Xypex penetrate concrete?
“Why must the concrete be wet prior to a XYPEX application?
The active ingredients in XYPEX penetrate the concrete by a process of chemical diffusion in which chemicals in a highly concentrated solution (the XYPEX slurry mixture) will spread through a solution of lower density (water in the pores and capillaries of the concrete) until the two are equalized” (Xypex Chemical Corporation 2002a).
The above quote implies that water may be found inside a concrete slab, and that this water offers a transmission route for chemicals to move via the agency of chemical diffusion. Note what modern research on Diffusive Pollutant Transport has to say about chemical diffusion:
“The objective of controlling the hydraulic conductivity is clearly one of limiting advective contaminant transport (ie the movement of contaminants with moving water) through the liner. However, despite more than a decade of research and the existence of good supporting field data, it is only recently that it has been generally recognized that there is a second contaminant transport process which will occur even through a very low hydraulic conductivity clay liner: that process is chemical diffusion. …diffusion may be the dominant contaminant transport mechanism in a well‐constructed clay liner. Furthermore, contaminants can escape from a waste disposal site, by diffusion through a liner, even if water flow in the liner is into the landfill” (Rowe,1994:219) (emphasis added).
“Baroghel-Bouny (1994) among others showed that water transport occurs in porous cementitious materials through different modes: vapor diffusion, liquid water and air pressure driven transports” (Lamour, Haouas & Moranville 2004).
Note also McGrath (2000) who shows that large amounts of water can move through concrete (even apparently dry concrete) in a vapor, gaseous or dissolved ion state (in any direction, depending on flow direction dynamics set up by cooling and heating cycles) from a region of high concentration or high chemical potential through to low concentration or low chemical potential via diffusion. He clearly shows that concrete cannot keep out anything unless it is treated:
“On the largest scale water or chemicals may move through cracks, rock pockets, construction joints and other large defects or joints in the concrete structure. This scale of flow is of primary importance with respect to “waterproofing” and involves keeping water out or in….”
It is therefore clear that chemicals can be transported through concrete in either a liquid or vapor form.
4. Can pesticide, specifically, enter a residence via a concrete slab?
Note that the Healthy Home Association recognizes that soil around foundation slabs is host to substances that are drawn into residences via the lower internal air pressure gradient typical of homes. Further, the Association recognizes that these substances enter the slab via pores in the concrete structure of the slab. However, what are these substances? Soil gas, radon, biological decomposition gases and… PESTICIDE! (2003]). Note:
“Pesticide moisture flow upwards through the concrete slabs by vapor diffusion and capillary transmission passes through the top surface of the concrete slabs as well as through floor surface treatments (carpet, tile, wood floors) and leads to un-healthy contamination problems.
Today’s almost airtight buildings let in little fresh air and draw from the ground more “soil gas”, rich in moisture and vapors from pesticides below ground. Pores in concrete draw in water by capillary action. The average (slab) lets in over (10) gallons of water each day, several times more than showering and cooking combined!” (ibid.).
As well, so readily does the building industry accept that pesticides can penetrate concrete slabs, that the XYPEX Product Features brochure entitled: UndersealTM XT 750 Positive Side Vertical Waterproofing Membrane with Built-in Protection Board, lists its product’s property, test method, and results (English and Metric) as: “Resistance to Penetration by Pesticides”, “ASTM F- 2130 percentage of penetration”, and “0.0 % 0.0%”, respectively (Polyguard Products Inc. 2003 [online]) (my emphasis).
If cautions regarding the use of mildewcides in buildings are advocated in United States product literature, then why are they not advocated by government bureaucracies that deal directly and intimately with dwellings and tenants, such as the DOH in Australia? Where does the DOH tenant fit into what should be an ethical discussion in terms of chemical applications in and around a tenant’s home? Are tenants worthy of consultation at all, especially given – as in my case – that I had already made it patently obvious to the DOH prior to moving into my DOH unit that I suffered from chemical sensitive asthma? Now in going back a step to the US situation, note:
“Safe Encasement Systems believes that the use of a coating that contains a potentially harmful or poisonous substance such as an EPA-registered pesticide (mildewcide) is a step that should be taken only after extensive consideration and discussion with all parties involved” (Safe Encasement Systems Midwest 2001).
Concrete slabs are well known to soak up water and chemicals from their surrounds, readily.
5. Can organic chemicals enter a residence any other way?
“Recent investigations have found that organic chemicals may contaminate drinking water by permeating buried plastic pipes and gasket materials… Many lipophilic compounds tested were found to permeate to a detectable level in consumers’ tap water within a month at one third of their aqueous solubilities. It was also found that PB [polybutylene] was more permeable than low-density polyethylene to toluene and that chlorinated hydrocarbons permeated PB faster than unchlorinated hydrocarbons. Gasoline compositions such as benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, and xylenes appeared to be highly permeable to PB and gasket material” (Park, Bontoux, Holsen, Jenkins & Selleck 1991).
The Pesticides Act (1999) obviously needs a significant overhaul in order for it to take into account the duel imperatives of the concept of Chemical Trespass and basic human rights (the right to be notified of a chemical application). This is, in fact, currently a task being undertaken by the Australian Chemical Trauma Alliance (ACTA) in South Australia, which “is making a submission to the DEC (old EPA) in respect to prior notification rights for pesticide applications under the NSW Pesticide Act” (Personal email, Mr. Don Want, 16th May 2004).
As well, given that the reliability of concrete slabs is essentially an unknown factor when chemical pesticide barriers are applied around a residence, building codes also need to be seriously addressed. Slab integrity needs to be tested for porosity before any decision to introduce a toxic nerve agent to a human habitation is made.
Advanced Cement Technologies [online], Technical Bulletin 10.106 CONCRETE PERMEABILITY High Reactivity Metakaolin (HRM) Engineered Mineral Admixture for Use With Portland Cement, http://metakaolin.com/member/10.106%20Concrete%20Permeability.htm, accessed: July 04, 2004)
Baroghel-Bouny V. (1994), Caractérisation microstructurale et hydrique des pâtes de ciment et des bétons ordinaires et à très hautes performances, Ph. D. thesis, Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, LCPC Paris, pp. 467.
CSIRO 2001 [online], New Solution to Costly Alumina Industry Concrete Failure, http://www.cmit.csiro.au/innovation/2001-08/concrete.htm, accessed: July 27, 2004.
Eagle Cement (Natal Portland Cement) [online], Concrete Durability, http://www.npc-eagle.co.za/site/awdep.asp?dealer=5011&depnum=2145, accessed: June 26, 2004)
Healthy Home Association 2003 [online], http://www.healthyhomeassociation.com/1/hhmoisture.htm, accessed: June 25, 2004.
Lamour, V., Haouas, A. & Moranville, M. [online], Chemo-hydro-mechanical behavior of concrete at early ages, LMT Cachan 61, Avenue du Pdt Wilson 94235 Cachan Cedex France, http://arw-bled2004.scix.net/Files/acceptedpapers/Accepted/NATOVL.pdf, accessed: June 25, 2004.
McGrath, Patrick F. Ph.D., 2000 [online], Water Permeability vs Waterproof — ASCE Met Section Construction Group, Cooper Union Student Chapter, May 25, 2000,
Xypex Chemical Corporation, Richmond, B.C., Canada; 45 Union Road, POBOX 255 Lavington NSW 2641, Australia, http://www.xypex.com.au/support/papers/200211121471.htm, accessed: May 15, 2004.
Park, J.K., Bontoux, L., Holsen, T.M., Jenkins, D. and Selleck, R.E. 1991 [online], ‘Permeation of Polybutylene Pipe and Gasket Material by Organic Chemicals’, Journal of the American Water Works Association (October), AWWA Bookstore Download Center, http://www.techstreet.com/cgi-bin/detail?product_id=883493), accessed: June 2004.
Safe Encasement Systems Midwest 2001, Technical Bulletin No. 01-5 December 2001; revised June 5, 2003, Encasement For Mold And Mildew Situations, http://www.safeencasement.com/articles/MOLD%20and%20COATINGS-TB-01-5-Rev.6.pdf, accessed: June 26, 2004.
Sutan, N. Mohamed, Hamdan, S. and Jin, E.C.C., 2002 [online], Faculty of Engineering, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, 94300 Kota Samarahan, Sarawak, Malaysia, http://www.ndt.net/article/v07n11/sutan2/sutan2.htm, accessed: July 04, 2004)
Polyguard Products Inc. [online] 2003, http://www.polyguardproducts.com/products/architectural/datasheets/750.pdf, UndersealTM XT 750 Positive Side Vertical Waterproofing Membrane with Built-in Protection Board , Ennis, TX, 75120-0755, accessed: June 25, 2004.
Rowe, R.K. 1994, ‘Diffusive transport of pollutants through clay liners’, in Landfilling of Waste: Barriers, eds, T.H. Christensen, R. Cossu and R. Stagmann, E. & F.N. Spon, London, UK.
Watanabe, GENERAL STRATEGIES FOR PREDICTING PHYSICAL DURABILITY OF BUILDING AND BUILDING COMPONENTS, K. Building Research Institute, Tsukuba, Japan, http://www.cmit.csiro.au/research/special/se_asia/harm_conf1/paper_watanabe.pdf, accessed: July 27, 2004.
Xypex Chemical Corporation 2002a [online], Frequently Asked Questions, http://www.hi-dry.com/faq/, accessed: June 19, 2004.
Xypex Chemical Corporation 2002b [online], (http://www.xypex.com.au/, accessed: June 25, 2004)