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Portsmouth PD employees say toxic mold made them sick. City denies it.
PORTSMOUTH — Several Portsmouth Police Department employees reported to the New Hampshire Department of Labor that, due to ongoing toxic mold and fungus growth in the department’s building, their medical providers advised them not to return to work due to symptoms and illnesses resulting from the exposure.
A July 19 health inspection report obtained by the Portsmouth Herald shows the state Department of Labor found the Portsmouth Police Department committed five health and safety violations pertaining to mold growth and employee exposure to it inside the police station.
“During employee interviews, it was learned that several employees sought medical evaluations, testing and treatment due to their symptoms and illnesses that they believe are directly associated with toxic mold exposure while working at the Portsmouth Police Department,” the report says. “Several interviewed employees expressed that their physicians have instructed them not to return to work due to their test results, symptoms and illnesses.”
City Manager Karen Conard on Monday stood by past statements that there has been no health impact on police employees from mold at the station.
“We are still confident that at no time has this presented a health issue or health impacts to our employees,” she said.
The report states the Department of Labor conducted an audit of the city police department’s health and safety program, with inspectors visiting the department on eight separate occasions between Wednesday, March 10 and Monday, May 10 of this year following employee concerns submitted to the NH Department of Labor.
Mold Exposure Tied to Worse COPD Outcomes
Mold may increase the risk for flare-ups and hospitalization with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
WEDNESDAY, June 23, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Activities potentially leading to mold exposure are associated with adverse chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) outcomes, according to a study published online June 12 in Pulmonology.
Chris Kosmidis, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, and colleagues assessed activities and exposures related to mold in 140 patients with COPD, including those with (60 patients) or without chronic pulmonary aspergillosis (CPA). The impact of mold exposure on COPD outcomes was assessed.
The researchers found that occupational contact with agricultural resources, vacuuming once weekly or more often, and not asking visitors to remove shoes on home entry were significantly more common in participants reporting four or more office visits for COPD symptoms in the previous year. Participants reporting four or more antibiotic courses in the previous year were significantly more likely to live within one mile of industrial composting sites, vacuum at least once weekly, and not ask visitors to remove shoes on home entry. There was a trend for patients with CPA to reside within one mile of farms or agricultural areas.
Families Traumatized by Violence Face Crime Scene Cleanup
By ANNA ORSO, The Philadelphia Inquirer
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — In the days after Patricia Norris was murdered in her West Oak Lane home, her family was busy planning the unexpected funeral, and investigators had finished collecting evidence. But no one told the Norris family what they’d find when they came back to the house to collect Patricia’s belongings Renee Norris-Jones, Patricia’s sister, stepped into the basement, shocked to see blood still on the walls. She remembers crying and thinking: My God, the police were just here with the yellow tape. They don’t clean this stuff up?
That was 22 years ago. Patricia — whom family called “Tricie” — was killed by her husband in a murder-suicide. So for Norris-Jones, herself a survivor of intimate-partner violence, seeing the aftermath was “trauma on top of trauma.”
The image remains seared in her memory.
“To know that that was the flesh of my flesh, that was my sister there?” said Norris-Jones, now 63, of Philadelphia. “You can’t forget that.”
Two decades later, the protocols for what happens after police collect evidence at a homicide scene remain largely the same. If the shooting occurs on a sidewalk or city street, the Fire Department may clean the area. But if it took place inside or outside a private home or vehicle, cleanup and repair are up to whomever is responsible for that property. In many cases that means the victim’s family, biological or chosen.
And so as rates of gun violence soar, more Philadelphians each year find themselves in situations like the one Norris-Jones did decades ago. That can mean turning a corner to come upon a gruesome scene with no warning. Or it can be the kin of a homicide victim getting a call from police to retrieve a car with an interior covered in blood. Those responsible for the cleanup expose themselves to potentially hazardous material, then have to live with what they saw.
Today, there’s a burgeoning effort to push the city to both take responsibility for cleaning homicide scenes before families see them, and to train police in having trauma-informed communications with families.
A seventh child who contracted a mold infection at Seattle Children’s Hospital has died
(CNN)An infant who developed a mold infection at Seattle Children’s Hospital has died, becoming the seventh patient at the facility killed by the same infection since 2001.
Elizabeth Hutt, a five-month-old girl, had been battling an Aspergillus mold infection for months and she “just could not beat it,” her family said in a statement Thursday through their attorney, Karen Koehler.
Last year, the hospital confirmed that six patients who developed the same Aspergillus infection have died and several others have been sickened since 2001. The main operating rooms were shut down, first in May and again in November, after the hospital detected the common mold Aspergillus in the air.
Elizabeth’s death Wednesday comes weeks after the family joined a class-action lawsuit filed against the hospital in behalf of the families of patients who have been sickened from the mold. The filing alleges hospital managers knew as early as 2005 that the transmission of Aspergillus into its premises could be related to its air-handling system, and it claims the hospital engaged in “a cover-up designed to reassure its patients, doctors, nurses, and the public that its premises were safe, when in fact they were not.”
How hospital mold caused 6 patients to die
New details have emerged about patient deaths from infections linked to mold in Seattle Children’s Hospital operating rooms. Mold-linked infections over nearly two decades led to six deaths previously thought to be isolated events. An investigation this year found they were likely connected, the hospital announced last week.
“We now believe that these infections were likely caused by the air handling systems that serve our operating rooms,” Dr. Jeff Sperring, the hospital’s CEO, said in a statement:
The infections were triggered by Aspergillus, a “pretty ubiquitous” fungus, according to Dr. Liise-anne Pirofski, chief of the division of infectious diseases at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Mold is a broad category, Pirofski explained. Unlike the household molds commonly found in wet kitchens or bathrooms, Aspergillus tends to be associated with building renovations or new construction.
While Aspergillus shouldn’t be in a hospital operating room, it’s also not something that could be completely eliminated from the hospital environment.
In Seattle, the majority of the hospital’s operating rooms are now closed until the hospital can install a new air-filtration system.
Girl, 14, dies of rare fungal infection caused by mold; mom says daughter ‘choked on her own blood’
An avid horseback rider and outdoors lover, 14-year-old Jade Owens’ adventures were seemingly just beginning when a rare fungal infection took her life.
Jade, from the United Kingdom, first began to complain of headaches and flulike symptoms in May. Her mom took her to see a doctor, who diagnosed her with a “minor chest infection,” according to South West News Service (SWNS), a British news agency.
By the following day, however, Jade’s condition deteriorated. Her grandmother, a nurse, suggested she go to a local emergency clinic as the teen was experiencing rapid breathing and looked “discolored.”
Testing revealed the teen was in diabetic ketoacidosis, what the Mayo Clinic defines as a “serious complication of diabetes that occurs when your body produces high levels of blood acids called ketones.”
The condition is typically a result of the body’s inability to produce an adequate amount of insulin.
Jade was then diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, per SWNS. The teen’s family was unaware that she was suffering from the chronic condition prior to her diagnosis.
“Jade looked very poorly and hadn’t been well all week. We went to the doctors and we thought it was just an infection and that was that,” Jade’s mother, Louise, 35, told SWNS. “I had no idea it would turn out to be as serious as it did.”
Read more here: https://www.foxnews.com/health/girl-dies-rare-fungal-infection
Ontario family buys dream home to find it’s infested with toxic mould
When the Austin family envisioned their new home in Ontario’s cottage country, they imagined their two young girls playing on a swing set in a big yard surrounded by nature. What they didn’t imagine was that both of their daughters would quickly become ill thanks to a widespread infestation of toxic black mould in what was supposed to be their dream home.
“It’s devastating,” Bridget Austin told CTVNews.ca during a telephone interview on Wednesday. “You think you’re doing the right thing in life and moving forward and paying off debts and then everything goes up in smoke. In June 2018, the family of four moved from Grimsby, Ont. to a ranch-style bungalow sitting on 17 acres in the small community of Port Sydney, located just south of Huntsville, Ont.
Austin said the realtor told them the house had been built in 2016 and had never been lived in before.
Within one week of settling into their new home, Austin said both of her daughters, aged three and one at the time, developed fevers. Her eldest daughter was admitted to hospital where she was diagnosed with strep throat. Despite taking medication, the girls continued to suffer from continuous fevers.
CDC: Mold infection from hurricane cleanup can have 50% fatality rate
Careful with mold, it’s storm season.
As hurricane season approaches, the Atlanta-based U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is sharing lessons it learned from 2017’s Hurricane Harvey. The CDC is concerned about people who are vulnerable to mold infections handling debris as they clean up after a storm. They want people to wear gloves, boots, goggles and a respirator to clean up dangerous mold. But sometimes the very people who need it most don’t wear gear at all. The gear is called “personal protective equipment,” or PPE. Some of those mold infections can have a fatality rate of 50%. The CDC would prefer that vulnerable people, for example people with suppressed immune systems, not do mold cleanup at all. If people do, though, it’s important they use protective gear. The health agency questioned several dozen people who cleaned up storm damage in Houston, perhaps just in their own homes, after Hurricane Harvey.
Read more here: https://www.ajc.com/news/state–regional-govt–politics/cdc-mold-infection-from-hurricane-cleanup-can-have-fatality-rate/QdTtzgcAAq3kQA58fYRcyI/?fbclid=IwAR1TwHj1o_PNVA9LNJBkReGz-m0m7KqBYY9mDwUH2CH7ITXsqB3dYjEV-AM
Recent rains prompt mold questions
By Donna Krug / District Director and Family & Consumer Science Agent – Cottonwood Extension District
It didn’t take long for the recent rains to bring a number of mold and mildew related questions to the Extension office. The saying “Water always wins” is so true. Whether it is a crack in the foundation, a leaky roof, or the water table raising so that water enters a basement or crawl space, water damage can take a toll on the health and well-being of family members.
Molds are usually not a problem during dry weather. However, when mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing, it doesn’t take long for a problem to develop. Molds have the potential to cause health problems. Molds produce allergens, irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances. Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat and lungs of both mold-allergic and nonallergic people.
Mold needs food in order to grow. Organic compounds like the back side of dry wall, wallpaper or paneling, the top side of ceiling tiles, or the underside of carpets and pads can feed mold. If wet or damp materials or areas are dried 24-48 hours after a leak or spill happens, in most cases mold will not grow. So you must act quickly when water damage happens.
During a flood cleanup, the indoor air quality in your home or office may appear to be the least of your problems. However, failure to remove contaminated materials and to reduce moisture and humidity can present serious long-term health risks. Standing water and wet materials are a breeding ground for microorganisms, such as viruses, bacteria, and mold. They can cause disease, trigger allergic reactions, and continue to damage materials long after the flood.
Health Canada warns mould is a serious concern in flood-hit homes
The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, May 2, 2019 1:27PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, May 2, 2019 2:34PM EDT
Health Canada is warning of the dangers of mould in homes and cottages hit by this year’s spring flooding.
Federal biologist Francis Lavoie says it’s important to dry wet walls and belongings within 48 hours, but that’s not always possible in the case of flooding. “You need to remove anything that has been too wet for too long that’s not dryable,” he said. “Cushions, carpet, drywall, mattresses, box springs, stuffed toys, insulation material — everything that has been exposed to water and cannot be dried — needs to be thrown away or discarded.” He said plastic toys and some furniture can be cleaned up if it is just surface mould.
Lavoie said often by the time people can get back into their homes, mould is already growing. “Mould is the most common indoor air contaminant in Canada.” He said people in homes with mould are more likely to have eye, nose and throat irritations, coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. Lavoie said it’s important a cleanup be thorough, because water can seep under floors and into walls.
“We usually recommend using professionals for such extensive work. In the case of a flood, it’s a lot of clean-up,” he said.
Radon: Cancer-causing gas could be lurking in your home
Radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the United States.
This time of year, many people are spending a lot more time indoors. With windows and doors shut tight, you could be putting your family at risk for radon poisoning. Radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the United States. Radon comes from the breakdown of uranium in rocks and soil. It’s a radioactive gas in the air we breathe, but it becomes unsafe when the gasses are trapped indoors.
It’s a hidden danger that could be in your home and why officials want residents to find out if they are affected. “It is an odorless, colorless gas and it has no taste so short of testing for it there is no way to know whether or not there’s an issue,” said Sabrina Novak, with the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department. “It enters the home through cracks and openings, and all homes regardless of age, energy-efficiency, or foundation type are at risk. The only way to know is to test that home,” she explained.
A device inside Kyle Stephens’ home offers his family peace of mind. “We have a two-year-old and one on the way and we want to make sure those growing lungs didn’t have any exposure to radon,” Stephens said.Radon occurs in every county in Tennessee with Hamilton County specifically at a moderate risk.
‘Nothing has been done’ to save remote First Nation from mould, leaders complain
87 homes in Cat Lake need to be torn down due to black mould infestation, local leaders warn
Anita Elash · Posted: Feb 15, 2019 6:53 PM ET | Last Updated: February 15
Signs of skin disease are seen on an 11-year old boy who, in late January 2019, was airlifted from Cat Lake First Nation to London, Ont., for medical care. (Submitted by Charlie Angus)
Frustrated leaders of a remote First Nation in northern Ontario say they may be forced to evacuate the community unless they get immediate help dealing with mould-infested housing and sick children.
Cat Lake First Nation, located about 600 km north of Thunder Bay, declared a state of emergency a month ago after inspections found black mould in most houses in the community and recommended that more than three-quarters of the homes “be entirely replaced” because of mould and other issues.
A door-to-door survey also found that at least 100 children in the community of 700 people suffer with respiratory problems and severe skin conditions caused by squalid living conditions, band councillor Joyce Cook said.
She described the situation as desperate and said widespread health problems are also taking a psychological toll. Many houses are already overcrowded and there’s nowhere for people living in mould-infested homes to go.
But Cook said that despite repeated calls for help from the federal government, the band is still no closer to getting the help it needs.
“We’re not even being recognized or heard,” she told a news conference in Toronto. “It’s just an echo through the woods.”
What are the effects of black mold exposure?
Black mold can infest homes or other buildings, especially in damp areas. Long-term exposure to black mold is potentially harmful to health and may cause a range of symptoms.
In this article, we explain what black mold is and look at the effects it can have on a person’s health. We also discuss how to treat and prevent black mold exposure.
What is black mold? Black mold is a type of fungus that is very dark green or black and often has a distinct musty or damp, mildewy smell. Black mold can be one of several different species of fungus, including Stachybotrys chartum. It tends to grow on surfaces that contain a lot of cellulose, such as fiberboard, wood, gypsum board, or paper. The mold prefers damp, warm environments, and it can grow wherever the conditions are right.
Black mold often thrives in humid areas, such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, and shower cubicles. It may also appear following a burst pipe or flooding, when it can grow in areas of a building that a person cannot easily see, such as between wall layers or underneath floorboards or carpets.
These molds are not dangerous in themselves, but they can release harmful toxins into the surrounding environment. Inhaling these toxins may lead to certain health effects and symptoms. People with lung disease or weakened immune systems tend to have a higher risk of experiencing these effects.
Read more here: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323419.php
Millions of people suffering from mold toxicity go undiagnosed, experts say
Mold in your home can make you physically ill. While it’s often visible when there is an infestation, mold can be lurking behind damp walls or under water-damaged flooring.
Toxic mold exposure is on the rise, and most people aren’t even aware they’re at risk, according to experts. “There are millions of people suffering from mold toxicity that don’t know it because it’s going majorly undiagnosed,” said Dr. Neil Nathan, a Board Certified Family Physician and author of the book “Toxic” (Victory Belt Publishing). Mold, which releases mycotoxins in the air due to water damage, is often invisible with the naked eye, but dangerous to those with toxin sensitivities. Nathan said not everyone who is exposed to mold gets sick.
“We do believe that it’s somewhat genetic so certain people are more genetically predisposed to it than others,” Nathan said. “So you can have several people living in a moldy environment and only one of them will get sick.”
Doctors estimate 25 percent of the population (or 1 in 4 people) have the gene that makes them more susceptible to mold sensitivities. Some of the symptoms for mold toxicity include fatigue, headaches, nausea, anxiety, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, muscle aches, brain fog, weight gain, adrenal fatigue and sensitivities to light and sound. Nathan, who has a website for mold toxicity resources (www.neilnathanmd.com) said it’s never too late to get treatment, but curing it can only happen by clearing all toxic mold from your home, office, car and eventually the body.
Apartment dwellers worry about mold, leaky ceilings; New management cleans up mess
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) — Some people living in a Madison apartment complex claim they have been dealing with mold and leaky ceilings for years. It’s a problem some residents of the Highland Ridge Apartments say is now making them worried for their kids.
FOX 17 News was invited into some of these homes and saw the mold and cracks firsthand. After investigating, we learned these problems started years ago. New management took over the complex in July. They tell us they have been cleaning up the mess they inherited since then. FOX 17 News talked to two families on the condition they would remain anonymous. Neither family wants to lose their home.
One of those families is a family of six. They have lived in their apartment for three years. They say for them, the issues started when they first moved into the complex. “When we first moved in, I complained about the mold,” the mother of four tells us. She showed FOX 17 News mold on her ceilings, walls, and an area she said leaked after a thunderstorm last year. “There’s mold everywhere”.
Nashville Fire Department: Station 24 staff relocated after mold found in fire hall
Nashville Fire Department personnel have been relocated from one station after active mold spores were found in the fire hall.
Staff at Station 24, 3851 Clarksville Highway, have been temporarily moved to other stations while a remediation plan is put in place and completed. “Personnel assigned to Station 24 alerted supervisors that they believe they found mold in the fire hall,” NFD spokesperson Joseph Pleasant said in a release.
The NFD safety office confirmed the report and began investigating. A verbal confirmation of the mold from a contractor led to the immediate relocation of personnel.