Toxic Gas Leak! – In Real Life #6

The whole family’s been feeling a little off lately, and we finally discovered the toxic reason why. It’s In Real Life episode 6.

How about you?

Have you ever experienced a gas leak? Or some other toxic exposure? Tell us about it. I’m particularly interested in what you did to detox.

About the Author

Genevieve Howland is a childbirth educator and breastfeeding advocate. She is the bestselling author of The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth and creator of the Mama Natural Birth Course. A mother of three, graduate of the University of Colorado, and YouTuber with over 75,000,000 views, she helps mothers and moms-to-be lead healthier and more natural lives.


Add a Comment
  1. I watched this video a yr ago and reviewed back to it today for answers. We just found two small gas leaks in our house. My youngest son has a rash similar to eczema and allergy symptoms. I am blaming the gas. How can we detox and treat this naturally? HELP!! TIA

    • You can do some clay baths… Make cleansing pesto (use cilantro instead of basil)… and have them drink lots of fluids. They will be just fine! For deeper gut healing, I’d look into a holistic practitioner. Xo

  2. Well, I don’t think I have ever left comments on someone’s blog I do not personally know, but I just wanted to tell you that I am in your exact spot. I have a 5, 3, and 9 mos old. We had 6 leaks in our furnace. I do live in California so we do have our windows open a lot but nonetheless I smelled gas pretty bad last week and they came out and found the leaks. Mind you I have called every year for faint smells and they have always said it was fine so I thought I was just sensitive. I would have let this one go too, but a friend of mine smelled it too so I immediately called. I am totally freaked out because the man said that some looked like they have been there for a long time. We have all had these symptoms that can seem to be easily attributed to other things nutritionally so I just kept thinking those were the reasons and tried to adjust things. My plan is getting some lab work done and they are going to also test for lead, benzene and methane, and a CBC. From there I am going to talk with this woman I was recommended to to help me figure out how to detox everyone. I think I am most concerned for my 3 yr old son and 9 mos old girl. What effects will this have on all of us because we don’t know how long it has been happening? How do you detox a baby or help in that way? I am even freaked out to nurse her so I am making the formula recommended in nourishing traditions. She also has been weaning herself lately and I don’t know if there is a connection. Sorry these are my random thoughts, but I have to tell you I am actually kind of encouraged to know that I am not alone. Especially when you know you have tried to do so many things to protect your family from the junk that is out there. All in all, my only comfort remains in the fact that I put my trust in the Sovereign God of the Bible and it is truly in His hands that our lives are. As much as we try do for our families, and we should, we are reminded that ultimately we are not the ones in control. I do ask you, if possible, if you could update me personally with any thing that you do for your family in this matter because I feel so limited and don’t know what to do. At the same time, I know I need to do something. I’m so glad I came across this.

  3. Don’t be so hard on yourself! I hope you have come to terms and definitely forgiven yourself. You are an amazing mother/wife. We all make mistakes and sometimes the good Lord allows things that make us stronger! If we learn from our mistakes then they are not in vain! If I were exposed I would definitely do my research but I would also with out doing any research at all, lemon water and milk thistle tea for the liver, increase my cruciferous veggie intake for my liver, increase fermented food intake! I am not sure if these recommendations are redundant because I didn’t read all of the comments so hope it helps. I will be praying for you all! Ephesians 3:20 Just know I think your awesome!

  4. Wow! I would have freaked out too! Fires have scared me since I was little and would have been imaging all sorts of things! My imagination is all over the place since I’m 11 weeks today with twins!! Luckily yesterday I went into dr for ultrasound on my thryoid. Not a fun experience bc I was laying down flat on my bad, uncomfortable and they were putting probe on throat. However, afterwards, tech let me hear heartbeats and I got to see babies. My mom was there but it was the best thing ever! I am a visual person and just needed to know they were ok! So I’m glad you got gas leaks fixed and can start relaxing more now πŸ™‚

  5. We had 2 small kids and I was pregnant with #3 when we moved into an older home. We were told by the landlord it was lead free. Because of our history with them we believed them even though we didn’t actually see the certification. My daughter was born and when she turned a year old we opted out of the lead test. Not because we were refusing it but because my boys JUST had lead testing done and they were fine. The pediatrician and I decided that we would reevaluate her need for the test at 1 1/2 years. At 15 months my daughter had a massive allergic reaction. Since she needed blood work to see what else she was allergic to we decided to do the lead testing. Guess what? Her levels were sky high πŸ™ Her doctor and I felt terrible!
    A social worker had to come out and evaluate our living conditions. It was so humiliating the way she treated us. She told me to make sure I didn’t let my kids eat the window sills. Seriously! Anyway, we figured out the windows had lead paint and the dust was at floor level right where the baby always was :/
    We bought a new vacuum with a special filter and changed how we cleaned. We will never know the lasting effects r how high those numbers really ever got. All I know is my sweet baby had lead poisoning because the landlord lied to us πŸ™

    The boys were retested and they were still fine. I am so thankful for that but I still feel awful my baby had it. She is 7 now. Cognitively she seems OK. She does have a pretty significant speech delay though. No clue if the lead poisoning caused it or not.

    We had to detox her. We used garlic, herbs, vitamins, amino acids, etc.

    Best of luck! I will be praying for y’all!

  6. I worked for gas appliance installation company between college and grad school. The techs always recommended that homeowners get gas alarms/detectors for their homes after they bought and installed appliances. Specifically, the techs recommended an alarm/detector near every gas appliance, or at least one on each floor. The one they recommended most often plugs into any outlet, has a battery back up, and detects both natural gas and carbon monoxide. When either gas is detected, the device emits a very shrill noise that is sure to wake everyone up. They are easy to find at big box stores and run about $45.

    Not sure if it’s ok to post this, but this is the one we use and we don’t have any complaints:

    P.S. These will go off if you use spray air fresheners, but I tend to think that’s a low risk in this group πŸ˜‰

  7. Did you have your house inspected before you moved into it? Shouldn’t this have been part of that inspection?
    What about the previous owners? Sometimes they have some liability to repair things they should have known about, especially since you moved in so recently.
    I know you’re not sue happy, but people shouldn’t pass of major, potentially deadly and certainly health ruining problems when they sell a house.

  8. When we first moved into our current house I thought I could smell gas by the dryer in the garage. My husband couldn’t smell it, but I decided to call the gas company anyway. The tech who came over couldn’t smell it either but he got out his gas detector. It just barely detected a leak from a pin sized hole. He asked if I was pregnant. I was six weeks pregnant at the time. He told me pregnant women were always calling for gas leaks that no one else could detect.

  9. You seem low this week, you are such a conscientious person and I’m sure are feeling guilt. Remember that you didn’t neglect these leaks on purpose and if you had your time over would have acted differently. Be sure to forgive yourself xx

  10. Griffin’s little voice is just too adorable! I loved hearing him talk about the food.

    • Me too πŸ™‚ He loved doing it πŸ™‚

  11. I know of two houses that blew up from natural gas leaks (one in my hometown, the other in the neighborhood of someone I know) so that really does happen–although usually in houses that are vacant, so no one notices the smell. Probably takes being closed up for a long time to actually explode. At our house, it was CO from our oven. The first time the CO detector went off, I was pregnant. My husband told me to take the cats and go out to the workshop while he aired out the house, but we couldn’t think why it was going off, so we weren’t entirely sure it wasn’t a false alarm. The next time, three months later, I thought it was just broken, but I had my baby to think of, so I called the fire department. It was no false alarm–they told me levels upstairs were over 100, and anything over 0 was bad! (All I could think was, What if my baby had been napping in her crib instead of in her carseat with me in the kitchen?!) Again, we stayed out of the house and aired it out for hours, while getting some fresh air! I think you’re right–gas affects you while it’s there, but doesn’t stay in your system–I don’t think. But we didn’t even feel headaches or nausea before our detector went off, so … We did invest in one of the digital-read CO detectors so that next time we’ll be able to see right away if there’s even a tiny elevation. (And I won’t assume a detector is giving false alarms again!) We also installed an outside-air vent on our wood stove to ensure that we weren’t drawing all of the available oxygen to the stove to burn, causing the oven to create CO instead of CO2. And yes, we finally did admit that we needed a new oven! A restaurant in a mall recently had a CO problem and a manager died–it was in the news. So worth having good detectors and careful home venting!

    • Thank you for sharing experience! So glad everyone was OK. I’m definitely getting high tech detectors! I had one upstairs but it didn’t pick it up.

  12. My 2 1/2 year old is crying because Paloma was not in this week’s video… Paloma fan club over here!

    • LOL! She will be in next week’s, I promise!

      • I’ve never posted here before, but I had to chime in — my 2 year old is exactly the same way! We have been prepping for Baby #2 (due in 5 weeks) and he gets so excited to watch Baby Paloma every week… he also loves getting to see Big Brother Griffin interacting with her.

        If you guys ever wanted to make a video about welcoming a new sibling I have at least one big (well, actually, he’s quite small) fan here πŸ™‚

  13. Sometimes the hardest lesson to learn is to forgive ourselves when we fall short of our expectations. And you know what? You will never dismiss the smell of gas again. Ever. Sometimes one misstep can save us from future catastrophe. πŸ™‚

  14. Poor mama Natural it made me cry to see your face so sad in this video…please don’t blame yourself…you are an amazing mom, sometimes things happen and you can’t control them…You guys are so bless!!! No too long ago an entire family in my Church die of Carbon Monoxide poison…it was so sad…even more sad the fact that they have 2 sons serving missions and they are coming back to an empty home πŸ™ however, they know their family is with God and that they will see them again, that’s what is helping them keep going everyday. Since those news we being thinking in getting some carbon monoxide detectors….but like I said, things like that happen to us so we can learn and straighten our faith in God…We love you mama, and Thank goodness you guys are doing good. I always keep you in my prayers and think of you because you are an amazing woman! Don’t forget!

    • May I ask why you haven’t gotten the detectors yet? They should be on every level of the home regardless if you think it would ever happen to you.

      • I do have a detecter. It was upstairs though. Going to get one for all levels of house!!!

        • How much do they charge for checking and fixing the leaks? I need to get inform, we probably wouldn’t know what to do or who to call if this happens to us πŸ™

        • Oh no I was talking to Magali because she said she was thinking about getting the detectors. I’m sorry about what happened to you Genevieve, and thank-you for sharing it with us so that it can help others, I smell gas sometimes near our stove and I’m getting it checked out thanks to you!

    • Tears! Thank you so much for your kind words. I needed them tonight πŸ™‚ XOXO

  15. This video will definitely make me more aware of what’s going on in my home. I am going to have my husband watch it, too. I am sure your bodies will recover quickly – at least your son got a few colds as it was probably his way of detoxing.

    ps – on this dreary rainy day in Chicago I watched a few dozen of your videos. I watched your night time routine and pressed pause when you showed your tube of toothpaste so I could see the info and phone number on it. I just called to make an appt. as I’ve been looking for a holistic dentist. I haven’t been to a dentist in 4 yrs. Do you still see her?

    Also, as I was about to turn you tube off, my son said he wanted to watch more of your videos. He said he likes your voice and background music. !!

    • LOL! You’re good, sistah! I still see her but trying to find someone closer as it *is* a haul and now that I have 2 kiddos, it makes it harder. She’s very natural though πŸ™‚

      P.S. I love that your son enjoys our videos! YAY!

      • I am sure it’s a all day ordeal if you’re coming from the city!! If you find someone closer to you, I’d love to hear your thoughts. I know this might be pushing the limits on your personal life, but I’d love to know your recommendations on other holistic docs you see. I am currently looking to switch to a more holistic pedeitriction (oh gosh, spelling is so bad spell check doesn’t have a sub! lol )

        I am assuming by looking at your house tour, you live in Chicago and not the burbs. The floor heaters and Chicago bungalow style kinda gave it away! I am from the park ridge area and would love to hear other suggestions for holistic doctors or dentists more east of south barrington.

  16. We had a carbon monoxide scare a month ago. Our house has both a wood furnace and gas heating, and you can switch between the two. My father in law cut down some trees last autumn and we had a lot of free wood to burn, so we switched to the wood furnace. It worked just fine for two weeks, and then I started smelling smoke. Not just in the basement where the furnace is, but in the bathroom above, and in the pantry (which isn’t even connected to the chimney). I was also feeling off, and my 5 month old daughter was fussier than usual – she takes her daytime naps in a crib next to the pantry. I kept bugging my husband about it, and he thought that he’d maybe made some kind of a mistake when filling up the furnace, and some smoke escaped. But I didn’t let it go, and we called in the chimney sweep.
    Sure enough, he found that the flue had cracked (!!) and the smoke and toxic fumes were leaking into the walls! He complimented my husband for calling him so quickly (ahem) and said that if everyone reacted as quickly, there’d be fewer deaths by CO-poisoning.
    Even though we switched to gas immediately (luckily, the gas heating system had its own chimney), I could still smell smoke for days afterwards. We washed all our clothes and took longer walks than usual and aired the whole house even though it was pretty cold, and a couple of days later my daughter’s moods improved and I felt back to normal.

    • Scary! So glad you took action. I learned so much from this experience!

  17. Oh Genevieve….soooo sorry this happened, I know this was very upsetting, I have a few moments as a mom/wife that I can relate. The great thing is, it is behind you now and you can focus on healing and all the goodness God has ahead. Praying for complete and total healing for you and your family! Blessings….

  18. OMG – Griffins cute lil voice <3

  19. I feel old… We smell we take dish soap and water and go over the pipes ourselves. Then if we find a leak we turn off the gas and get the parts and fix it ourselves checking afterwards to make sure it is fixed. I’m always the one to smell it first. They just get headaches.

  20. It is obvious how upsetting this was for you — so sorry this happened. In a toxic world home is the one refuge and when something happens at home it is so difficult to deal with. Don’t fall into the trap of blaming yourself! During hurricane Sandy we lost power and water for 11 days. To keep our sump pump running to avoid our finished basement from flooding, we had to run a gasoline powered generator outside of a basement window. Although the generator was placed away from the house and the window was only open a crack to allow the cord in, there must have been some odd wind gust and it filled the house with fumes. I woke up (pregnant at the time) to the terrible odor and went into a panic. Thank goodness we were all OK but I had terrible anxiety over it and blamed myself for weeks. I was so upset about it I let my defenses get down and got a terrible sinus infection I had to take meds for while pregnant! Then I started blaming myself for that too!

    As moms we do the best we can and make so many good choices but mistakes are inevitable and things happen. All the best to you.

    • Thank you April! Yes, we do as best as we can… I’m starting to let it go. Ain’t easy but necessary πŸ™‚

  21. Oh mama! That is scary. We also had a gas leak after our stove was replaced. I had a newborn and it was definitely scary to discover our stove had been leaking gas for weeks – especially since we slept in the bedroom off the kitchen! Eventually we moved (it was a rental), but it does make me wonder if some of my & my hubby’s ongoing health issues could have stemmed from toxic exposure in that house – everything was old and outdated and probably not up to code, and there was mold on the laundry room’s outside wall.

    So glad to hear you are all safe now!

  22. Well….a true leak no — instead at 2am with 2 kids under 4 we had our carbon monoxide alarm go off. We called the fire department, opened all the windows and doors in -30c (-22F), woke up the baby and toddler (not fun) dragged them out into the firetruck, all the while 5 men dressed in their fire fighting best scoured our house for about an hour just to tell us..nope no leak.

    We did learn however, that carbon monoxide detectors become unreliable at about the 3 year mark and should be changed out regularly.

    LOL how embarrassing. Not to mention the chore it was to get everyone back to sleep πŸ™‚

  23. We had two gas leaks this past fall. it was our stove and dryer. I kept telling my OB I felt off and they kept reminding me I was “over 30” (31 to be exact) but that was the reason my pregnancy seemed harder. My husband also is the one who noticed the smell and we were evacuated. I never thought of long term effects, now I’m curios. Our gas company fixed everything right then but advised our landlords of the pipes not being to code. Sadly they’re not in any hurry to replace them. We’re looking for a new, bigger place anyway. Hope you all are feeling better soon.

  24. Hey there…it is so easy for us to beat ourselves up…but why is not as easy to forgive?
    Please cut yourself some slack lady…you even explained how you have smelled it twice before and it was
    bogus each time and so you thought perhaps, this would be the same story…so why bother?
    Your a wonderful momma and wife, making sure everyone is healthy and sharing that information with all of us….and since you love your family so very much, i know, that you know in your heart, that you would never do anything intentionally to hurt them. You did your best and your best is good enough. Let it go. Be well (^.^)

  25. You can just decide to forgive yourself. Look in the mirror and say “I forgive you.” until you mean it. No shame in a mistake that you quickly corrected when you realized it. Or you could lighten it up a bit and have the family self publish a short book “We had gas. Now we don’t and we feel so much better!” πŸ˜€ I imagine a collaborative art effort with hand drawn pictures. Laminate it and bind it and voila a keepsake of epicly funny proportions. πŸ˜€

  26. So sorry for the toxic mess! I think if any family can heal, you guys will and can, with how seriously you take health issues. I wouldn’t beat myself up either, just give it time, and with the cleansing methods you find, I’m sure you’ll feel better as you nurture the family out of this. It could have happened to anyone. My husband actually smelled a gas leak in our new home right before we moved in and the gas company came out and it was a pretty big one. I didn’t think the smell was serious, so sometimes it takes that other person to really confirm our suspicions. I think God designed our bodies to withstand and be able to heal from certain levels of toxic exposures – especially little ones – they’re so resilient with the right care. Hang in there!

  27. Last winter we had our carbon monoxide detector go off, we normally use the woodstove, but we turned on the oil heat while we had the flu.

  28. I am so glad that you found these leaks. We just lost a family of 4 in a town near us due to carbon monoxide leaking in their home. It was very tragic, they all died in their sleep and the community has been really affected by this. So glad that your family is safe and on your way to recovering.

    • That is SO SAD!!!!!!!! Ugh, my heart breaks.

  29. Oh my goodness! Our infant’s room is right above the furnace and dryer in the basement, and she has had the same symptoms Paloma had, as well as eczema on her cheeks. She also has not slept longer than 2-3 hour chunks for 3 MONTHS! I have been desperately sleep deprived and terribly concerned about her. I am calling our gas company right NOW.

    Thank you for this!

    • Poor dear! Hope you get to the bottom of it… XO

  30. I’m not sure if it counts, but the water in the apartments we live in has sulfur and causes the water to smell like a portapottie or a sulfur pit. We can’t drink it and it ruins mine and my husbands hair and our skin and I refuse to wash our soon to be son in it. The apartment owners say it’s completely safe… We also had mold that has been cleaned but when we left for two weeks and returned, we started sneezing and having allergy like symptoms. Help!!!

    • Yucky! That’s so tough. If you can’t move, get lots of house plants. You can also get charcoal bags on Amazon that absorb a lot of toxins. Diffusing essential oils can help too!

  31. It was only about a month ago when a valve on our furnace wore out and gas started pouring out. We had to rush our two kids (ages 2 and 6 months) out of the house along with the dog. We sat in the car (it was 25 degrees outside) and waited 40 MINUTES for the “emergency” gas people. I knew our house wasn’t going to explode, though, because our neighbor’s house exploded about 20 years ago and that kind of thing just doesn’t happen to next-door neighbors. At least that’s what I was telling myself. Anyway, 3 heat-less days and $4400 later we had a new furnace. Gratitude is the way to go. I’m thankful for our safety (and yours) and that we have a roof over our heads to worry about. I hope next week is better!

    • WOW! That’s intense, mama! So glad everyone is safe and sound.

  32. We had aspergillus exposure unknown to us for a year in a rental. I was constantly tired, sick and battling sinus infections. We found a leak in a storage closet.
    Of course diet and probiotics are key, but I still struggled. Nebulized iodine, a few drops in a nebulizer or steaming in a jar of boiled water and inhaled over several sessions after moving out cleared it out of my lungs and nasal passages. Iodine is a natural antibiotic/antifungal/antiviral.

    • Nice! Sorry you had to go through that πŸ™

  33. Of course you should forgive yourself! We are imperfect humans in an imperfect world, but we have an all-good and all-perfect God who doesn’t give us any crosses we can’t handle!

    That being said, I know what it is to feel guilty with not taking action. My toddler son suffered from my lack of action with eczema, and later with his asthma! It is hard not to cry about it, but it is humbling and I am grateful for his gradual return to health!

    With your dedication to health, I’m sure you will all bounce back quickly! Also, your experiences may alert and save others!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • I absolutely agree with Julia. Hindsight is 20/20, and He very well could have allowed it as a purpose of educating others. You have many readers! You’re a great mama and you will eventually forgive yourself. Just keep giving it over!! πŸ™‚

      • Thank you sweetie! I’m getting there πŸ™‚ XOXO

    • Thanks Julia! Bless you! And glad your son is healing πŸ™‚

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *