CLOVIS -- Mold
was found in two Clovis Unified School District offices late last week.
The discovery of a potentially hazardous organism was seen growing in the new
Buchanan High School administration offices. On Thursday, Superintendent Walt
Buster told reporters there was the possibility of "...molds at Buchanan High
School," and that "...the extent of the problem" had not been determined.
According a news release from the district office
Dr. Buster, ordered Buchanan High shuttered for 36 Hours. Long term arrangements
for temporary classrooms for Buchanan High students are being worked out at the
Reagan Center in southeast Clovis.
mold is in your local school buildings teacher, students,
parents and staff who have been exposed to the effects of
mold contamination should be aware that if it is toxic mold
it is very hazardous and has even been reported by
health authorities to have been fatal in isolated cases.
One common form
of mold recently appearing in school buildings in California and all along the
Pacific Coast is Stachybotrys chartarum, a toxic form of mold. It may cause
health problems from volatile gases or toxicity from inhalation or skin contact
with toxin-containing spores. Toxic effects at relatively low doses are non-life
threatening but may cause rashes, mild neurotoxic effects such as headache, nausea,
muscle aches and pains, and fatigue. The immune system may also be affected resulting
in a decreased resistance to infections.
defects are thought to be closely related to outbreaks in public buildings. In
a current school case in Southern California, attorney Thomas E. Miller is investigating
allegations that potentially toxic mold is causing chronic-cold like symptoms
in a 12-year old boy who lives in the Also Viejo California area. Fourteen other
incidents of sickness related to mold have reportedly been documented in the development,
in addition to several in the Villagio II complexd in San Clemente. Miller contends
that the mold is the result of a construction defect in the affected structures,
a defect caused by water seepage.
Highline School District in Seattle, Washington is another
example. "A 55-year-old building is thought to have so
sick it made may have made teachers sick. The District closed
the school building, parts of which date to 1943, after maintenance
workers last week found in a wall the toxic mold stachybotrys,
which is known to cause respiratory illnesses" according
to Nick Latham, District spokesperson. The finding came just
weeks before the first day of school, Sept. 2. Latham said
District officials still weren't sure where the 450 students
and 25 staff members will be housed. Most likely, the students
will be bused to one of three vacant or semivacant buildings
owned by the District.
will be a big change for the students, most of whom live nearby
and walk to school, Latham said. The District sent letters
to parents, many of whom are Vietnamese and Cambodian, alerting
them about the closure and inviting them to a Friday meeting.
For more than a year teachers have been complaining of coughs,
and sinus and throat problems. Last spring a group of them
attended a board meeting to tell administrators the District
should fix the problem, said Susan Santie, a board member.
Some teachers had speculated some student illnesses may have
been from the poor air quality, but the district's study offered
no proof of that, according to Santie. Students had not complained
about the building, administrators said.
ordered repairs for the building this summer and has spent hundreds of thousands
of dollars trying to refurbish the building, Latham said. Also this summer, Highline
commissioned a study of the building that turned up the fungus in the ceiling
of a teachers' restroom. Latham said he didn't know whether the building would
open again or how costly it would be to remedy it. "We're not going to say when
and if kids can come back," Latham said. "Once they're in a safe and clean school,
then we can take time to study the situation."
Letter to the Editor
Note: According to OSHA Stachybotrys and other toxic molds and fungi requires
Level IV remediation in compliance with OSHA 1910.134, 1910.1200. Mold spores
are tiny bacteria less than 4 microns in size -- so small that as many as 250,000
spores can fit on a pin head and a person exposed to them can inhale as many as
750,000 of these spores per minute! They are produced by microorganisms which
can grow in moist areas of improperly constructed or improperly maintained buildings
and in farm hay and stored grain silage where the moisture content is high (30%)
and the area is poorly ventilated. Heavy concentrations of mold spores appear
as dry, white or grey powder or clouds. The body has natural defense filtering
systems (such as raucous lining, coughing and sneezing) against dusty air which
helps remove some contaminants. Most contaminants overpower and pass through these
defenses. Mold spores not only bypass defenses because of their number, but also
because they are so small. Very fine particles, like mold spores, move into, accumulate
and settle into the lower lungs. There they produce toxins. The lungs transfer
oxygen to the bloodstream, and most of the actual exchange of carbon dioxide and
oxygen takes place in the lower lungs. So the lungs become a roadway for toxic
materials to travel through the bloodstream with the oxygen. The body's reaction
to the toxins permanently affects the lungs' ability to transfer oxygen into the
bloodstream. The lung tissue becomes permanently scared and each exposure to mold
spores increases the damage. The body's last defense against these tiny invaders
is to develop an allergy producing cold or pneumonia-like symptoms.]
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