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Sick Building and Mold Illness Stories

NAME: Elizabeth Pilger
ADDRESS: New Smyrna Beach FL
MY STORY: I was renting an apt. that was making me very sick. I had a clean air test done and found out why I had to move out and not take anything with me. It eats me up inside after going to our city, & The EPA that this landlord is still renting out this mold hole. They blew me off and said there is nothing that can be done because there are no standards on mold set. They talk about SARS - well they need to take a look at this disease that is running rampant in our own country. What is wrong with our government? Now after going to see Doctors, they are treating us with antibiotics which is the worst thing to put into our bodies. I have no insurance and have been going in circles. I am finding out that hundreds even thousands of people have died and are very sick. Where can I turn? Is our own country covering up? They are not giving people who are so sick to work any compensation or help. Whats wrong with our Government?
SUBMITTED: 6/25/03

NAME: M. Mercer
MY STORY: I work for the County of Santa Barbara in Santa Barbara, California. I started working in the building over one year ago and it has been a year of hell. Since my employment there I have developed Fibromyalgia with Chronic Fatigue. I also have experienced heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting spells, and headaches. I have had to take meds to control these symptoms. The building is very old and not well ventilated. We have old radiators that inadequately heat the building and no hvac system. There is one window on my side of the building that is about two feet by two feet and 10-12 feet up from the ground. The screen is frequently caked with dust. The roof leaks and provides further work hazards. There are two in my building who have been removed from the building under doctors orders and several more who have the same symptoms that I do. My blood tests show that there is nothing else wrong with me. My symptoms and those of others disappear when we are away from work. I am currently looking into my legal rights.
SUBMITTED: 11/21/02

NAME: Tammy Smith
ADDRESS: Greasham OR
MY STORY: Me and my kids wre exposed to toxic mold. I have a lot of medical problems now that i was exposed to toxic mold. We had Stachybotrys, Penicillium, Aspergillis of veris colors and much more. I find myself very scared and worried about my kids' health and mine as well. I ask myself why this happened to us. I lost everything I had and am still dealing with the pain. I don't feel like it will go away.
SUBMITTED: 11/5/02

NAME: Anonymous
ADDRESS: Inverness FL
MY STORY: I work for a physician's office in Florida. I have been there for 5 years. Within 2 days of starting my job there I had a very bad cold that turned into a sinus infection. (This has happened to every new employee who has ever worked there.) I have had numerous health problems since working there. So many different problems that at times I think I'm going crazy. I have regularly been seen by doctors and had just about every test known to man. Just this past summer I was out of work for 4 wks. due to being unable to breath & dizziness. I was being seen by a cardiologist who ran several tests. Could find nothing unusual. (I have mitral valve prolapse which I've known about for half my life-so unfortunately any time I have any kind of symptom that's what they blame it on.) I did not suspect our building until just recently. Several of us at work have had discussions and they are all experiencing the same problems as I do. I am currently out of work again because I am staying so dizzy and weak and have such a constant headache that I can hardly sit up. I would appreciate any info anyone can send me as to what I can do and who I can contact. We have evidence of mold in our building and the air system has never been cleaned or serviced in 12 years since the building was built. I would appreciate any responses. I don't have a clue what to do. There are at least 3 of us in the building who are willing to pursue this.
SUBMITTED: 10/10/02

NAME: Safi
ADDRESS: Johnson City TN
MY STORY: Fellow sick building syndrome sufferers, I have been working for the ____ corporation in the Elizabethton location in TN. I have been working for this innanely insensitive company with no consciousness of "hygiene". This is a customer contact center. We are on the phone continually booking hotel rooms. I am now very ill with asthma that I have never had prior to my exposure to this ex-nuclear test lab facility. I have heart palpitations, my lungs hurt, I have been running a low grade fever for the last 4 months, and my chest hurts. I am barely functional, can hardly go up the stairs now. I am petrified for my life. Other employees are also complaining of this. The ventilation system is shot! There is mold on the vents - black splotches. There is a lack of oxygen in the back rooms. This part of TN seems to be totally devoid of any sense of responsibility to their employees, especially this corporation which is a national corporation. There is dust all over the computers that no one bothers to clean. We know we are inhaling dust and mold. I need to work but I will have to keep calling in sick. Guess then they will fire me and I won't have a job and the unemployment agency will not care because I was fired. I have an excellent rating at work, but they tell me if I resign, they will say it is for medical reasons and then no one else will hire me. Well, what do I do? Any attorneys reading this? I am thinking of documenting this to the supervisor and the operations manager so they won't give me a good reference like they have promised me, if I stay - but leaving is better than dying of lung cancer.
SUBMITTED: 10/4/02

NAME: Misty and Roger Butler
MY STORY: We found that we had stachybotrys mold in our home and our insurance company refused to help even though our newborn was very ill. We are still fighting. Please contact us and join our fight. We have so much info to share, too much to write. Thank you.
SUBMITTED: 9/10/02

NAME: Eileen Duignan-Woods, PE
ADDRESS: Rockville MD
MY STORY: In 1996, my husband and I moved from Chicago, Illinois and rented a frame vinyl clad home, less than two years old, in the countryside of Arden, North Carolina. Almost immediately, I began to suffer severe sinus infections, (not somethng I had experienced in Chicago). Eventually we moved and it seemed to clear up. After one very wet winter, we noticed darkness building up around artwork on walls and around electrical outlets, etc. and called it to the attention of the landlord, but nothing was done. The second winter saw five weeks of continuous rain and the typical Blue Ridge Mountain mild temperatures. One morning, I noticed gray scum on the condensate that seemed to have collected on the window sash, and noticed "Dark" collecting on the light carpeting around the edge of the bedroom. I examined other parts of the house and even went down into the (open and non-waterproofed) crawl space beneath the house. More evidence of this dark buildup, and the inside of the HVAC system was covered in a black sootlike substance. Suspecting that the high humidity had something to do with it, I turned on the air conditioning and significantly dried out the house. When we moved that spring, and artwork was taken down, black smudging outlined the frames and appeared at all the electrical outlets. Our landlord actually thought we had a fire---we did not, of course, but it looked that way. I contacted professional colleagues in the American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air conditioning Engineers, who had made a specialization of problems with indoor air quality. They were baffled. At the time this happened, I suspected it was mold, but couldn't prove anything.
SUBMITTED: 8/22/02

NAME: Rose Mary Martino
MY STORY: We purchased our home Aug. 2000. 2 months later we decided to have carpeting removed from bathroom and have vinyl installed. We hired a local contractor and he subletted the job out. The sub-contractor did not replace the toilet correctly. Therefore, we had raw sewerage going into the walls and under the floor. We noticed it 6 weeks after job was done. We contacted our insurance company and they sent an adjuster out. The adjuster told us to get a plumber to check out the situation. We did, and the plumber found the problem and put it in writing. Our homeowners insurance hired a company from Tampa that does testing and air quality testing for mold. They found high counts of mold and called us and told us to get out of the house and not take anything. About 1 hr. after that call our insurance company called and told us to get out too. We checked into a hotel and stayed there for 1 week, then moved into a condo with the understanding that insurance was going to pay. They paid the hotel for us and paid 1 1/2 months rent on the condo and then denied our claim. We have moved 6 times since March of 2001. We have seen so many Drs. and are on so many meds for different ailments, not to say that our nervous system has been severely affected. We are being represented by an attorney and hopefully by year's end will be going into litigation. On another note we just had to file bankrupcy as we are broke and have got to find a place of our own to rent.
SUBMITTED: 6/15/02

NAME: Mary Carroll- Bower
ADDRESS: Springfield MO
MY STORY: Toxic mold combined with carbon-monoxide emissions entered through our vents of a rented apartment from Nov. 5th, 1999 to December 17th, 1999. We could only imagine what the insides of our bodies look like, because we knew they felt like death.

Six weeks into these exposures, we could not breath, were throwing up blood, lost our memories, fell and bruised constantly, our noses bled unexpectedly. Our neighbors laughed at us, and the hospitals and doctors misdiagnosed the entire family of 4 for over six weeks.

I called the City Utility Company to check the heater. It was emitting 1000+ppms of carbon-monoxide to the normal indoor levels of 9ppms for domestic. Yet the owners continue to fight us and say we have no case. Four of us, two adults and 2 children have mitral valve prolapses. My MRI came back with white matter scattered high density damage.

What did we learn you ask? We learned that justice is hard to come by. We learned that you can not "make" someone care. We learned that corruption abounds withing agencies, and that children suffer needlessly at the hands of others.
SUBMITTED: 6/15/02

NAME: Vickie Smith
MY STORY: Hello. My name is Vickie Smith. I have been a teacher and coach with the Central Dauphin High School for the last thirteen Years. On February 8, 2002, I filed a workman’s compensation claim questioning the IAQ (Indoor Air Quality). On February 22, 2002 I went on a medical leave to seek treatment of an undiagnosed illness that affected my entire life. My symptoms first began in 1996.

While the school district conducted IAQ testing to determine if there was a problem, I sought treatment using workman’s compensation. On February 15, 2002, Analytical Laboratory Service Inc., was hired to do a walk through inspection of the heating and ventilating system, perform occupant interviews, and take air and bulk samples.

During the same time frame, I began seeking treatment from local physicians. In order to get treatment in a timely fashion for this complicated illness, I contacted the school administration numerous times to get a copy of this report. I even sent a certified letter to the Superintendent requesting a copy for a battery of tests I was instructed to have done. No response. Nothing. To this day this letter has been written, I have not been given the report by the school district.

With the help of the teacher’s union, the Department of Health was asked to do an independent inspection because many other teachers were experiencing symptoms too. Without the help of the Department of Health and Pennsafe, the “right to know” division within the Department of Labor and Industry, I would not have received a copy of the report that clearly identifies stachybotrys, aspergillus & penicillium within our school. Analytical Laboratory Services listed 13 recommendations in an effort to address the wide range of problems cited in their report.

Being a serious athlete for the last 25 years allows me to know when the finely tuned machine, my body, is acting up. The genetics (which was tested by the specialist) are the best anyone could wish for. There is no history of allergies, asthma or any of the other symptoms I experienced. I developed a severe breathing dysfunction diminishing my two year triathlon training. Given what I have learned though the many survivors and victims of toxic mold, I feel it is my moral obligation to inform the teachers, parents, and all school personnel of the potential medical complications surrounding this new set of chronic neurotoxins that are affecting our immune systems.

I am available for further comments should you deem this story worthy of your time. You may contact me directly or contact Mr. Joseph Hitchings, my attorney at 243-6222.

NAME: Christine D. Notareschi
MY STORY: I am a teacher. My school system built a new school and my problems began the day I stepped inside the building. I had horrendous headaches, my vision was blurry, I had an ugly itchy rash on my torso, I was having trouble breathing, my throat and nasal passages burned and I was extremely fatigued by the end of the work day. I did not connect my problems to the building until I realized that I felt better the longer I was away from the building. It was actually a relief the day I discovered other teachers had the same problems....I knew I wasn't crazy!! Then the kids began complaining. We became very upset because our administration refused to acknowledge the problem was related to the building. After months of patiently trying to "follow the chain of command" to get help, we decided to have a "teach-out". It was not a formal protest but rather a desperate move by desperate teachers! Every single teacher taught their class outside! The media got wind of ! it and the school closed the next day. It has taken over a year.......but the building is just reopening now!!

NAME: Larry N. McQuarie, Sr.
MY STORY: I am a victim of Sick Building Syndrome. I worked for the Department of Transportation (DOT) as a Railroad Safety Specialist for the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). The DOT headquarters is located in the Nassif Building at 400 7th St SW in Washington, DC.

I worked in this building for two and 1/2 years. My research to date is based only on four articles in the Washington Post, written in 1995 and 1996. I have recently made a FOIA request to the DOT to get the reports of the inspections of the building prior to my leaving the FRA.

Here is what I do know from these articles. The building is a 1.3 million sq ft office space, housing all of DOT's operations. FRA employees started becoming sick in October 1995, four months following my departure. Two hundred employees were relocated to other quarters, in an entirely different building. They started feeling better. After an OSHA inspection, it was declared that the building was not causing the problem. The 200 employees returned and again became sick. The entire section (FRA) was relocated to another building in the DC area and remain there today.

The building was declared "Sick" on April 2, 1996. Reports cited in these articles stated that Stachybotry Chartarum was airborne on the eighth floor. It said that VOC's were at levels 13 times greater than what is required to declare a building sick. Apergillus Fumigatus was also found in the air on the eighth floor. The building was a bubbling cauldron of toxic substances. My office was located on the eighth floor.

Following my resignation, four months prior to the problems manifesting, I was diagnosed with "Major Depressive Disorder" (Recurrent - Moderate to Severe.) I now take massive doses of medication for this disorder.

Prior to going to DC, I was able to work and function at very acceptable levels. Following that time I have not been able to work and have been placed on disability.

I have worked since I was 11 years of age, and missed very few days. I was 53 when I left the building in DC, and have not been able to hold meaningful employment since. The building took its toll.

I tried on two occasions to get the reports concerning the inspections of this building, but met with either the DOT ignoring my request on one occasion, and only paying lip service to a letter that I progressed through my Senator. I have again asked for the reports and am awaiting the results.

Having left DC in 1995 and for the next six years, I remained unable to think straight enough to look into this matter. I was fighting for my very sanity. Now, believing that I am considerably better, I have been researching the building problem.

I would like to hear from others that have suffered and lived through this kind of exposure. I would really like to hear from anyone that knows of the Nassif Building Problems that came about in 1996.
SUBMITTED: 5/22/02

NAME: Rebecca S. Keeney
ADDRESS: Portland OR
MY STORY: I had been attending a "well known" business college in downtown Portland, OR since May 29, 2001. I was doing o.k...for the first couple of weeks. In time, I was experiencing vague clusters of symptoms in the usual wide range, suspected in SBS. In a span of just a few months, I was diagnosed in rapid sucesssion with strep, staph, intestinal infections on top of all the other symptoms. I just thought: "stress". I have never been so sick, with so many things all at once, and for so long, with such severity. I took 2 months off from late February of this year, till April 29th. (In those 2 month's I got all my health back). I went back, and immediately got a severe respiratory and sinus infection, along w/headaches, and all the "usual" complaints I had before. The "AH-HAH's" then hit me, and ever since then, I have been in a nightmare, unable to get ANY public entity to even get tests in this buliding! I was told by an attorney to "go public". Well, I guess I have to, not only for MY sake, but others who don't know the insidious effects of this.

Source: www.presenting.net/sbs/otherstories.html


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