Mold in Office

by Heather


I'm in the middle of my mold issue right now. Several years ago my office building had it's roof ripped completely off in a tornado. There was extensive water damage and it took a few months to get everything rebuilt. The new office had nice clean carpet installed an fresh drywall. Everything had to be re-done.

I noticed that my eyes were itchy and I had a mild respiratory irritation about a year or so after the remodel, usually during rainy or muggy weather. Slowly over time I started to notice a wet patch on the drywall. I figured there was a slight leak in the foundation. Over time though, the patch got bigger and bigger until the drywall completely deteriorated and became a gaping hole. At this point I insisted that some attention be paid to this issue. The same construction company was called out and removed the lower portion of the drywall to find that it was actually a roof leak and the damage went the entire length of the wall.

Instead of calling in a mold expert, the construction company that caused the leaky roof in the first place just ran bleach water over the lower half of the exposed 2X4's in the pictures, patched the leaky roof, and proceeded to seal up the rest of the damaged materials under a new layer of drywall. Those black 2X4 pieces in the pictures are still in the wall along with the upper portion of insulation.

It has been 6 months since this was done and the drywall looks fine now. You would never know it was water damaged except for a tiny line about 4 1/2 feet up where the damaged drywall was cut away and replaced. Unfortunately the same can't be said for the air quality. I purchased out of my own pocket a $200 Honeywell "True Hepa Allergen Remover" and placed it in my office. It's not helping. I have red, swollen, itchy eyes, a persistent cough that will clear up a few hours after removing myself from the office, headaches, dizziness, metallic taste in my mouth. In short I just feel awful. I'm the only person that sits in this area of the office with the water damage - it's a small room with 2 through-doors to other parts of the office. When one of the doors is closed, eliminating air circulation, the air is intolerable. I'm the only one with symptoms. I do have medically diagnosed sensitivity to dust, mold, and pollen, so I don't really know if I'm the only one with a problem or if I just have the worst seat in the house.

I'm thinking that I might just need to look for another job for my health as I don't think my employer really sees this mold as a problem because I'm the only one it bothers and it doesn't look like OHSA really has any set rules to protect mold-sensitive employees. From what I can tell, mold remediation is very expensive and time consuming and probably not worth it to my employer just to retain one employee.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Editors Reply

Hi Heather,

It definitely sounds like it could be a mold problem, but the only way to know for sure would be to have the air tested. In most cases an employer would want to know about situations like this, as they don’t want a potential lawsuit on their hands. If insurance paid for the repairs to your building, then perhaps the mold removal would be covered as well.

You have a few options. Go to your employer, call OHSA and see what they advise, call an attorney, or look for another job. Perhaps doing all of these things will give you some answers. Here are some articles that you might find helpful:

Symptoms of Exposure To Mold
Sick Building Syndrome
Testing for Mold

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Comments for Mold in Office

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Dec 14, 2018
Above 300 is Illegal
by: Anonymous

Anything above 300 is illegal.

According to who, what legal authority and what sources are you providing for your information?

Mar 21, 2018
by: Anonymous

You can also call the Town's building inspector. The mold test is to be paid by the employer. Is the employer also the building owner or does he rent?

There is a new product out made by Dylos. It's about $200 and is a handheld device, or can sit on a desk. It reads mold counts. Anything above 300 is illegal.

Your employer is responsible for providing an environmentally safe space, otherwise he is breaking the law. Talk to an attorney. Get a letter from your doctor. Get your blood tested for mold toxins. Document everything - symptoms, time, day, location. Document the progression of the symptoms through the day, and then document how your symptoms go away after you leave the building. Take photos of your desk area. Get the name and all contact info of the contractors. Check your state laws about the statute of limitations. In Connecticut, it's two years. So if a contractor does a bad job and the mild comes back in that two-year timeframe, they are liable and can be sued.

Use a dehumidifier as well. Find a different space to have your desk.

Be thorough.

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Office Mold

by Liana T.

What can I do about mold in my office? No one believes me or has symptoms.

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