Lawsuit: JCSU fired employee in ‘retaliation’ after mold-induced illness

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) –

A former Johnson C. Smith University employee claims the school fired her after she filed a workers’ compensation complaint due to contracting a mold-induced illness.

According to a lawsuit, Christine Taylor, who was a full-time post officer manager at the university, said her and other employees learned they were exposed to mold in their office after “an environmental agency evaluated and assessed the area.”

The incident happened in March 2016 and Taylor claims she was suffering from severe headaches, congestion, fatigue, allergic reactions, a burning tongue and chronic coughing when she learned about the mold exposure, the lawsuit states.

Taylor then reportedly told her manager and a HR representative about her symptoms who then choose her a healthcare provider. The lawsuit states that Taylor’s healthcare provider told her that “she should not return to work in that environment.”  A month later, Taylor claims her and other employees were relocated to another building on the university’s campus but she continued to have similar symptoms.

The lawsuit states that the university refused to pay for Taylor’s medical treatment. She then filed a workers’ compensation claim “in an effort to continue to get the medical care she needed for treatment of the symptoms she continued to have as a result of the mold exposure.”

The plaintiff claims that she continued seeking medical care and in November 2016 she reportedly was diagnosed with Aspergillosis. The lawsuit states that the infection is caused by exposure to mold spores in the work environment. Taylor’s physician allegedly told her that if she continued working in that office then it would be “detrimental to her health,” according to the lawsuit.

After contacting her employer to determine whether her accommodation could be granted, the university allegedly eliminated her position and told her that she would be “terminated if she could not transition into another position.” The university said they terminated her position due to “budget issues,” the lawsuit claims.

The lawsuit claims that HR told Taylor that she was qualified for another position but she disagreed. That is when Taylor claims she was terminated from her job, according to the lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit, the university informed employees that the location was free from mold in September, however, Taylor claims that was false since the area reportedly continued to have “leaking and missing ceiling tiles, HVAC and other issues that could be harmful to those employees exposed to such an environment.”

She says that her office had a history of mold contamination and employees were exposed in 2009, resulting in the staff being relocated to another building for some time, according to the lawsuit.

Taylor claims that the university fired her in “retaliation” after she filed a workers’ compensation claim, an OSHA complaint, demanded that her civil rights be protected and due to disability discrimination.

The lawsuit states that Taylor wants “compensatory damages for pecuniary losses, emotional pain, physical illness, personal sickness and mental anguish in excess of $25,000. Taylor is also asking for punitive damages in excess of $25,000 and treble damages in excess of $25,000.

Article Source: http://www.wbtv.com/story/37192033/lawsuit-jcsu-fired-employee-in-retaliation-after-mold-induced-illness

TFD firefighters return to Station 7 following concerns of mold

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV)– Tallahassee firefighters are back at Station 7 following a temporary relocation to Station 9 last week.

Employees were forced to leave the building on Shamrock following concerns of mold. Staff are now staying in temporary housing provided by the Leon County Sheriff’s Office on site at Station 7 while crews work to remediate and clean.

The action comes after an employee brought up health concerns and mold growth at the building. Since then, at least nine employees have filed a “first report of injury or illness” with the City based on the concerns at Station 7. That is the first step in a potential workman’s compensation claim.

“We’re not going to disregard our employees. If that’s a concern, we’re going to look into it and address it” said Fire Chief Jerome Gaines.

A report done by Mihir Environics Inc. shows that the hallway outside the HVAC closet had high levels of mold spores in the air. However, the amount is not higher than the outdoor air. A conclusion reached by the report states, “higher spore counts in the hallway indicates suspect presence of mold contamination in the area above ceiling.”

Recommendations were made including investigating the HVAC system and correcting the humidity problem which may be the reason for visible mold. And, investigating the above ceiling space in the hallway and other areas for possible mold contamination.

Gaines, acknowledged the issue and said they are working to make improvements.

“You know, these stations are old stations. We live in Florida which is a very humid climate. Mold is everywhere. It’s outside,” said Gaines.

“You can just consider it’s all around you, it’s on you,” said John Hassler.

Hassler is an expert on mold and owns Indoor Environmental Management. The company provides a variety of services including
identifying and remediating mold in the home. He attributes mold growth to two things.

“It’s either an active water leak in liquid state from storm water or plumbing. Or, relative humidity. And the way to protect yourself against unwanted mold growth and amplification is to control those factors or address them immediately if they become a problem,” he said.

The City is now working to address the factors leading to the station’s issue.

“We’ve contracted with experts that have extensive knowledge in this area,” said John Powell, Environmental Services and Facilities Director for the City of Tallahassee.

Several improvements have since been made, including uncovering a fresh air intake vent, adjustments to temperature control settings and adding motion sensors to fans in the restrooms.

“The outside spore count is significantly higher than what we found inside. That doesn’t mean we can’t make improvements. Improvements that will not only benefit energy consumption, as well as the quality of the air inside the building,” said Powell.

Chief Gaines said he feels satisfied that the appropriate actions are being taken.

“We can’t address anything if we don’t know about it. And we will continue to take a proactive position in everything we do and make sure not just the citizens, but the health and safety of our employees is number one,” he said.

The City expects the work to take about two weeks. It maintains that there should be no delay in response time during that time.

Article Source: http://www.wctv.tv/content/news/TFD-firefighters-are-relocated-to-Station-9-following-concerns-of-mold-440405103.html

 

A Few Good Resources on Mold Illness, a Common Lyme Disease Co-Condition

Lately, ProHealth has been sharing articles about how mold toxicity is an important, but often overlooked co-condition in people with chronic Lyme disease. Many people, not just those with Lyme—are sick from mold illness, but those with chronic health conditions such as Lyme may be even more susceptible to the effects of mold, since Lyme hamstrings the immune system in such a way that makes it more vulnerable to environmental assaults of all kinds, including mold.

In her article, Is Toxic Mold Exposure the Cause of Your Symptoms? Jill Carnahan, MD, shares about mold illness; how to identify it in your home or workplace, symptoms that are commonly associated with mold, and how to test and treat your home and body for it.

Mold Illness

Dr. Carnahan also describes her Low Mold Diet, which describes foods that are safe and not safe for people with mold illness to consume. Healthy food for people battling mold illness include fresh, organic meat, poultry and fish; low glycemic vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds, and healthy oils. Higher-glycemic fruits, canned, boxed and processed foods, sugar, cheese, and high amounts of most grains and legumes are some foods that can feed mold and exacerbate mold symptoms. To read more, click here.

Other good resources on mold include Dave Asprey’s interview MOLDY, Ritchie Shoemaker, MDs site: www.SurvivingMold.com, and Neil Nathan, MDs new book, Mold and Mycotoxins. Because mold illness is a complex condition to diagnose and treat and there is some controversy surrounding the best way to do that, it is a good idea to consult multiple sources when learning about the effects of mold and mycotoxins upon the body.

Article Source: http://www.prohealth.com/library/showarticle.cfm?libid=29677

How to reduce mold spores and allergens in your home

How to reduce mold spores and allergens in your home . .

 

Learn How To Get Rid Of Mold Spores In Your Home And Decrease Allergies

At Fun Guy Inspections, we believe in taking the proactive approach when it comes to keeping your home safe from common dust mites, allergens, and mold spores that take place as a result of water damage. Safeguarding your home from these particles and spores is a very important responsibility for those that suffer with increased allergies, or asthma.  Those who do not take indoor air quality  seriously are placing themselves and their loved ones at risk.  reduce mold spores

  1. Using a Hypoallergenic Vacuum

Part of reducing mold spores and allergens from your carpeting is not an easy task and not one that can typically be done by hand. Your furniture fabric is also highly susceptible to the presence of particles, allergens, dust mites, and mold spores. Fortunately, a HEPA vacuum (also known as a hypoallergenic vacuum) can serve as the perfect solution.

  1. Using an Hypoallergenic Air Filter

In addition to vacuuming, a homeowner can also install a hypoallergenic air filter to reduce the amount of pollutants that freely circulate through the air. HEPA air filters (which means high efficiency particulate arrest) forces the air supply in your home through a fine mesh filter that is designed to trap all of the harmful allergens that typically float around unabated.

  1. Consider a Mold Inspection

If neither of the aforementioned methods work as hoped, it is time to contact the good people at www.funguyinspections.com for more information. In all likelihood, you will be in need of a mold inspection, as well as an air quality test.  We can determine if you need to reduce the mold spores and allergens in your home after testing.  reduce mold spores

  1. Mold Testing

When it comes time to conduct the mold and allergen testing, this process is completed when you allow our experts to take samples of the air inside your home. In order to make an accurate reading, we also take a sample of the air outside, in order to compare them on a side by side basis.

Certified mold inspectors can then let you know what their determinations are and whether your home and its occupants are at risk. If the levels are higher than recommended, you and your family may be at risk of mold exposure.

Read More

READ MORE

Odd odors in Los Angeles

odorsalisocreekupdateLOS ANGELES, Dec. 01, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Attorney R. Rex Parris’ law firm sent a 54 page letter to state officials regarding Southern California Gas Company’s gas leak in Aliso Canyon that has sickened residents and caused a rotten-egg smell to settle over the Porter Ranch area.

In the letter, Parris writes, “Southern California Gas injects natural gas underground – the injection well activities led to the leaking of massive amounts of methane near families in Porter Ranch, a residential community in Los Angeles County.  We represent Save Porter Ranch and members of the Porter Ranch community.  Save Porter Ranch is demanding the State Oil & Gas Supervisor issue an emergency order requiring So. Cal. Gas to stop all injections in this oilfield by December 3, 2015.  Public Resources Code sections 3013, 3106, 3224, 3326, 3300 and 3403.5 give the State Oil & Gas Supervisor this authority. Public Resources Code section 3235 mandates an investigation, written report, and order by the State Oil & Gas Supervisor on receipt of this complaint.”

“Let there be no mistake about the impact this leak is having on the families in Porter Ranch.  Almost 300 families had to evacuate during this holiday season. The families in this community live here because it is supposed to be safe, and now it is not.  Children and adults suffer from regular nosebleeds, headaches, nausea and vomiting.  These families have a right to live without toxic poisoning of their neighborhood.  The amount of methane being released from So. Cal. Gas’s gas injection well is estimated to be upwards of 50,000 kilograms of methane an hour, potentially accounting for a quarter of California’s total methane emissions every day the leak continues. Residents are afraid to open their windows, forced to perpetually run their air conditioners, and are finding oily residue in their swimming pools,” said Parris.

“Save Porter Ranch is also demanding the State Oil & Gas Supervisor immediately disclose all test data received from So. Cal. Gas regarding the chemicals being released.  DOGGR’s November 18, 2015 Emergency Order required So. Cal. Gas to provide this data, and thus, DOGGR should immediately upload this information to the internet.  DOGGR’s failure to provide this information only increases the concern that DOGGR may be protecting So. Cal. Gas at the expense of the residents of Porter Ranch. The injection well that is leaking is one of 154 injection wells in this oil field including 93 active gas storage wells.  DOGGR’s prior emergency order did not order So. Cal. Gas to immediately stop injection activity in this field, and DOGGR’s failure to act is increasing the risk to the community,” added Parris.

In the letter to state officials, Parris writes, “In sum, Save Porter Ranch demands that DOGGR issue an order by December 3, 2015 that provides the following protections to the families of Porter Ranch:
1.      So. Cal. Gas must cease all injections other than injections approved by DOGGR to stop the massive leak.
2.      DOGGR must disclose all chemicals detected in air quality tests as provided by So. Cal. Gas and any government agency.
3.      DOGGR must investigate and confirm no other injection activities by other operators are impairing the ability of So. Cal. Gas to stop the leaking well.”

Air Quality Application – UCLA

Los Angeles | CA


UCLA Health System announced last week it had developed a free smartphone app that can display air quality, allowing individuals to determine the best time to exercise and when to stay indoors. “I depend on the AirForU app now, and I use it every time I plan on running,” LA resident and app tester Yareli Sanchez said. “The app is really convenient for helping me manage my asthma and minimize my exposure to pollution.” The free app can be used on iPhones and Androids. It delivers local air-quality measurements directly to the user’s phone and displays real-time updates.

The app provides a six-level air quality measurement scale, from good to hazardous. Separate tabs give information regarding how to respond (e.g., “reduce outdoor exertion”), the locations of large manufacturing facilities emitting toxic chemicals nearby and frequently asked questions. Research has shown that poor air quality disproportionately affects asthmatics, heart and lung disease patients, pregnant women, young children and the elderly.

The AirForU app is available at this link.

http://www.examiner.com/article/free-ucla-airforu-app-measure-air-quality