Mold: A silent, dangerous threat to homes and health
*by Reginald Roundtree, Tampa Bay’s 10News *
Clearwater, Florida – There are hundreds of thousands of dwellings in the Tampa Bay area. There are apartments, condos, townhouses and single family homes. And each and every one of them is a potential target of mold infestation.
</SPAN>Mold is caused by water intrusion from the roof, in your windows or through the walls of your house. Wendy Clark lived in a building at the Vinings Apartment Complex in Clearwater. She says she moved in march of this year, and from day one she felt something was wrong.
“The place would have a really bad odor,” Wendy says. After just one month, she moved out because she was constantly getting sick.
Wendy says, “I’ve had several eye infections, breathing problems and anxiety because of this.”
In June of this year, we went in with our cameras and mold was all over her apartment. She had it in her sink, under the cabinets, under the air conditioning unit, in her clothes and in her shoes.
Wendy says she told management at the Vinings about the mold problem immediately, but she says they were slow to respond.
Wendy decided to pay for her apartment to be tested for mold. She hired Innovative Environmental solutions.
And in their report, the total spore count topped more than 117,000 per cubic meter. That is considered “abundant.” They also found an aspergillus count of 112,000, a cladosporium count of more than 3,000 and stachybotrys of 114 count.
It’s important for you to understand some common types of mold. Aspergillus is a common mold linked to allergies and other diseases. And then there is cladosporium, which is easily made airborne and can cause respiratory infections, asthma and hay fever. But stachybotrys is the most toxic and dangerous of them all. This mold has the ability to produce what is called mycotoxins.
Dr. Richard Lipsey, a mold toxicologist says it can kill you. He says while cases of fatalities involving mold are rare, there is no ignoring the symptoms of people exposed to dangerous levels of mold.
“You will have upper respiratory, headaches, nausea and pains, like burning eyes, nose and throat, ” according to Dr. Lipsey.
Wendy’s doctor referred her to a respiratory allergist because of her exposure to high levels of mold.
But her attorney says he’s also concerned about how widespread the mold problem might be at her apartment complex.
“What I’m afraid of in this case of the Vinings, is it appears there’s a possibility it had infected other units.”
He says he does not know how many might be involved. Mr. Berman’s fears are not far fetched. Dr. Lipsey says mold can and will spread quickly.
We asked management at the Vinings about Wendy’s case and if they were having mold problems with other tenants.
They sent Tampa Bay’s 10 News a fax saying, “moisture is an issue for every Florida resident. It’s why we encourage our residents to control the humidity in their apartments.”
The fax goes on to say, “ensuring the health and safety of our residents and employees is our highest priority”.