sweet smell coming off of baseboard heaters
these are way old (50's?) copper tube and flange hot water baseboard units in an apartment that i just moved into. the longer i run the units, the higher the setting, the stronger the smell, kind of a chemical sweet smell. i've totally soaked/cleaned them with non-toxic cleaner, so that they're completely shiny/like new, but still get the odor when i turn them on/leave them running.
i notice if i turn the units down to 60 at nite, they'll kick in early morning and i wake up with chest pain, sore throat, smelling that sweet odor and my cat does a wierd thing with his mouth, like he's got something distasteful in there.
if i leave the heat on for several days in a row during the day, my cat will start throwing up, hiding in closets.
reading earlier threads, i'm wondering if the sweet smell could be a glycol leak in the system? e.g. turning up the heat vaporizes it/makes it offgas more?
i know my landlord thinks i'm crazy, but i've had too many toxic episodes in older buildings to ignore symptoms like this (e.g. being diagnosed with hodgkins, when in fact it was a sick building - whole thing cleared up when i identified the problem - poof, no more "hodgkins", co poisoning a couple of times, chimney backdrafting particulants, etc.). i'd leave, but other than this, the apartment is wonderful, environmentally sound.
is there a way to show/prove that there is a leak, to convince the landlord to call in somebody? or is this just what these older units do and there's no fix, other than replacing the units?
also, if it is a leak/leaks, is it enough to keep the units off - or can pinhole/undetectable leaks in a cold system cause health issues?
any thoughts appreciated. :)
One of many types of glycol test results.
Comparative observations on the growth rates, blood counts, urine examinations, kidney function tests, fertility and general condition of the test and control groups, exhibited no essential differences between them with the exception that the rats in the glycol atmospheres exhibited consistently higher weight gains. Some drying of the skin of the monkeys' faces occurred after several months continuous exposure to a heavy fog of triethylene glycol. However, when the vapor concentration was maintained just below saturation by means of the glycostat this effect did not occur.
Examination at autopsy likewise failed to reveal any differences between the animals kept in glycolized air and those living in the ordinary room atmosphere. Extensive histological study of the lungs was made to ascertain whether the glycol had produced any generalized or local irritation. None was found. The kidneys, liver, spleen and bone marrow also were normal.
The results of these experiments in conjunction with the absence of any observed ill effects in patients exposed to both triethylene glycol and propylene glycol vapors for months at a time, provide assurance that air containing these vapors in amounts up to the saturation point is completely harmless.
. Glycol vapors are even used to safely disinfect rooms, having strong effects on staph bacteria.
No matter the test results, this guy is not injesting glycol, and the radiators are not aerosolizing anything except possibly cat urine.