Work In Restaurant Basement With Musty Smell



My new job didn't tell me I'd be working in the basement, which, had a very clear and abundant musty putrid smell. It happens to be a restaurant (on the first floor), and they kept telling me the smell was from a certain meat in the refrigerator, in the basement, which had a strong odor. But, logic would tell me anything refrigerated wouldn't leak such an odor. I checked and the amount of meat actually in there was negligible, maybe one or two pieces if that.

Anyway, luckily it was a once a week accounting gig, but by about week three it became clear to me this was effecting me, mentally and physically. It was difficult to breathe, my energy and concentration was slowing down, and my mood was horrible. The last straw was when I left at the end of the day and I was nauseous for two days.

I'm adding pictures. I ended up resigning, giving them no notice, as I couldn't put my health at risk for one more minute. As a long time "by the book employee" I've never done that, so there's a tinge of guilt. I know it takes inspection and testing, but this does look like mold?

Our Response


Thank you for submitting your story and pictures. Unfortunately it is impossible to tell from the pictures exactly what you are dealing with. It certainly could be mold, and it looks like mold, but the only way to know for sure would be to have it tested.

You did the right thing by resigning from that job. Nothing is as important as your health. Long-term exposure to mold can cause irreversable health issues.

You should inform the restaurant of your suspicions and let them know about the dangers of mold exposure. They probably have a good idea that there is a mold issue, but don't want to go through with the expense of having it removed. You could also inform the local health department of your experience. They probably would send a health inspector out to take a look. There is also a chance that the mold is contaminating the food that the restaurant is serving to its customers. Keep that in mind when you decide what you are going to do.

Here are some additional articles that might be helpful for you:

Mycotoxins That Are Produced By Mold
Symptoms Of Mold Exposure To Look For
Dealing With Mold In Basements

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