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- Sun Oct 07, 2007 2:10 pm
I own a business and when we moved into the space we are leasing two years ago. It did not occur to us to have the building inspected thoroughly like one would do when buying a property. We moved in, in November and the following spring once the weather started warming up the building smelled like decay. The smell went away after a short while so we shrugged it off. However, two years later you can smell mold once entering our building and two of my employees have been under the weather. Coughing, sneezing, running nose, headaches and several other symptoms that seem to be common to prolonged exposure to mold. I just had a mold inspector out to our space a few days ago to learn that our building has five years before it collapses and that the foundation is entirely covered in mold and there is black mold above the ceiling tiles.
So here is my question.
Are there any medical test that can be performed to assess if any of my staff may have health damage due to the building conditions?
I also was under the impression that once removed from the situation (moved out of building) that with a little time what ever symptoms may be there from this exposure will elleavte themselves or go away. Is this true or a nice myth to make me feel better? Should I be concerned that this exposure may potentially cause problems for my staff years from now?
| Dr. Tamer Fouad
- Sat Nov 24, 2007 11:58 pm
I am sorry to hear about all the bad luck you are facing with your business. I would also like to apologize for the delayed response.
I would like to note that most common diseases associated with mold exposure are allergic reactions to the mold in sensitive individuals. If you say that your staff have only recently started developing symptoms then, assuming that the exposure conditions at work haven't changed, its probably unlikely that this is related to the exposure.
The other and more serious condition that can result from exposure is infection. Mold infection doesn't happen to everyone, especially normal healthy individuals. However, if a person is immunocompromised or has a disease of the lungs (such as COPD) they may develop mold infection. This is rare but can be fatal.
I appreciate your sense of responsibility towards your staff and I would advise you to act quickly and responsibly towards them so that they do not decide to press charges against you. Showing them that you are acting responsibly will help to exclude their fears that this was the result of negligence on your part.
You should have an occupational physician examine them and advise you and them regarding further steps. Applicable codes, insurance, inspection, legal, and similar issues about mold generally fall under state and local (not federal) jurisdiction. You may also want to consult the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - they have a toll free number (800) 438-4318 which you can try. Every step you take should be documented and I also encourage you to consult your lawyer to help you take appropriate steps for your employees and your business.
Please let me know if there's anything else we can help with.