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Mold At Work Questions & Answers

October 4, 2002

Q. I was informed today that we have Penicillium Aspergillus in our office. We removed wallpaper and found it on the sheetrock. Should I be concerned? I'm not sure if they are telling me everything. Your input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance for your help.

A. Penicillium and Aspergillus are two of the most harmful to health molds.  It is very common for mold to grow inside drywall and beneath wall paper.  Mold growth can eat wallpaper glue and he wallpaper itself. All of the mold contaminated building materials will have to be removed in accordance with the mold remediation procedures. You and your associates will need to be working somewhere else during the mold removal job. Be sure that the hvac system is thoroughly tested and remediated or replaced if mold infested. All office equipment and furniture will have to go through mold decontamination before being moved to a temporary office location or are put back into the office after the mold removal contract is completed with satisfactory clearance testing by a mold inspection company other than the mold remediation company actually doing the job.; Your health should be evaluated at company expense by a physician who is a pulmonary specialist. Blood tests for mold antibodies would be something to ask your doctor about.

October 3, 2002

Q. I have purchased your Mold Buster Tips, book. I will say it has been very helpful. I have a question for you. I was working for a company and by my 2 week in that office I started having severe migraines daily, nose bleeds, and then my nose got to ware I couldn't get any air through my nose at all I was in severe pain and my ears were blocked I felt as if I was going to suffocate. I had to go to the ER twice in 2 months. I had pointed out the visible mold in the ladies restroom in the ceiling tiles. After my second visit to the ER the office manager had a environmental company come out. Yes they found mold in the ceiling tiles and in the carpet. The problem started from a leaking water heater up in the ceiling. However the company I worked for did not have the mold tested and they removed the ceiling tile and shampooed the carpets themselves. I returned to work a week later and didn't have such severe reactions until two weeks later. Everything started up all over again. I stinging in my nose my nose swelling at first only when I was at the office then feeling better once at home. But that escaladed soon. I was not given insurance nor would they file a worker's compensation claim because of the mold problem. I was not the only employee that had symptoms. However I did have the most severe. The company fired me stating personality conflict. I have a work comp. claim in the works and have been seen by two ENT [ear, nose, throat] specialists and I have been told I have a 2 inch whole in my nose. MY septum is practically gone I still have nose problems. I have also obtained a personal injury attorney that has take on a couple of mold cases here in Missouri. But his question I what would be the best way to get back into this building? The company I worked for has moved out of that office space. What would be the best way to obtain samples? What legal rights are there in going into this building to get samples so they don't go in and destroy evidence? I truly appreciate your help.

A. Thanks for your compliment about our book Mold Buster Tips. You should ask a favor of the present tenant or present tenant's employees for you to have a Certified Mold Inspector inspect and test their work place for the possibility of mold infestation. It would be the advantage of the present tenant or tenant's employees to know whether they are occupying a mold-infested work place. If the space is presently vacant, maybe you can get permission for the building's janitorial staff to test the work place [with the same advantage to the janitorial workers having to work in that area]. If the work place is vacant, you can also ask a favor of the property owner to let you in for environmental testing [but the landlord might refuse because he or she doesn't want to know whether the building is mold contaminated and doesn't want any landlord legal liability to you and others for failure to test for mold and to remove mold contamination from premises that the landlord has rented in the past or currently]. If the landlord is uncooperative, ask your attorney to obtain the landlord's cooperation.

September 16, 2002

Q. I have had a year of problems since they put the heat on at work 10/4/01. My pulmonary specialist is sure it is the building air. I have been surviving with 4 meds, and getting out of my work building and into a good, safe air conditioning as soon as I can. I usually feel much better in my car or in my house---which seems clean and dry and mold free except the old bathroom---where black comes thru the tiles. The house has ac and an air cleaner. I just noticed a lot of black mold growth on the porch railings and uprights. It is worse just under the gutters which haven't been cleaned in 3 years. My landlord told me it was mold and it was everywhere in the Hudson Valley---but that it couldn't hurt me because there is so much air outside. The porch is long and narrow and I have to walk the length of it every time I come or go. Could I be getting sick from it? Recently my meds and home ac/air filter don't seem to be doing the job. My newest symptom is headaches---very bad.

A. You may be possibly getting mold sick from both your moldy workplace AND your moldy rental house. Your first step is to have a Certified Mold Inspector do a thorough mold inspection and mold testing of both your work area and your home. To find a Certified Mold Inspector or Certified Toxic Mold Investigator in your area, please click on: Inspector Directory. From what you wrote, it seems that the mold problems in your home are more likely to be the primary cause of your possibly getting sick from mold. As to the outside mold growth, although it is true that the outside air can dissipate and carry away dangerous mold spores, here are some problems with your landlord's theory that is all is well outdoors: (1) serious mold growth and large mold growth under the gutters and in the porch wood can spread into the walls of your house; (2) unhealthy mold spores released from the gutter area mold and porch mold can just as well be blown INTO your home through open windows and doors rather than away from your home; and (3) you having to continually walk through the long and narrow, moldy porch to enter and exit your home certain gives you plenty of opportunities to breathe in dangerous mold spores. You may also have mold growing beneath your bathroom tiles---one of the many areas that should be inspected and tested by a Certified Mold Professional. Spreading mold in your rental house is a serious risk to your health. Show your landlord the answer to this email and ask him to hire a Certified Mold Inspector to check out your home for mold infestation.

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