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Andrew in Houston, Texas

I first discovered mold on 7/18/2011 the first day we moved into our new apt. We had the lease signed for two weeks but did not have the money for electricity yet. I knew it was mold because my grandmothers house has been remodeled because of mold, also my mothers house after a major flood here in Houston.

I got some bleach out and a brillo pad and scrubbed down all the vents with bleach, thinking it was just a mixture of mold and dust as the building is old. On 7/19 I found a mold circle along the left hand wall in the carpet,about a foot long, this is also the wall that is directly leading to the outside and parking lot. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but a week and a half after fully moving in, my girlfriend and I began to start feeling sick.

As we had just moved into a new place, we figured, new germs and environment maybe that caused it. A few days passed we went to stay the evening with a family member and felt overall better, no heat flashes, no congestion, no headaches, no joint aches, no sore throats, we figured we were getting better.

We returned to the apt and this is at the two week point of our residency, we stayed feeling better for a few days, then gradually the symptoms of mold exposure all started too come back. I didn’t know at the time that every symptom I had was a symptom of mold exposure, as it just seemed like a bad virus or the flu. I went and got an Ionic pro air filtration unit at this point, and our symptoms were less taxing on our bodies. I ran the ionic pro for a week and a half straight, at which point I turned the machine off so it wouldn’t run to hot and burn its circuits out.

I forgot to plug the unit back in for a total of 3 days, in which point my girlfriend and I became devastatingly ill. We went through complete loss of appetite, nausea when we would try and force food down, started coughing up mucus with signs of black spotting, we are smokers, but we only smoke about five cigarettes a day.

I began noticing breakouts on my leg which I chocked up to an acne out break from being sick. My eye’s started to water, at completely random times, we went through heat flashes where we would have to stand in front of the fan or pass out. On 8/15 it reached a breaking point though, I experienced the first signs of dizziness. I left my apt to walk to a Mexican restaurant to get to go food. In the 45 minutes I was waiting for our meals to be prepared, my dizziness and “cloudy head” ( I had trouble phrasing things and ordering.) slowly began to disappear. By the time I came home I felt like I could eat a full meal again, I came inside and we sat down too eat.

My girlfriend could only stomach two bites of her chicken tenders and said if she ate anymore she would throw up. This is after eating half a normal dinner portion the previous night because of the same thing. At that point she started describing the way she felt and brought up the mold I found when we moved in. I decided it was imperative to check the vents which I had previously scrubbed. Low and behold the mold had come back triple fold and was now spreading from inside of the vent to the outside grates. At this point I looked up the symptoms and found enough similarities to demand an air test from my front office.

I immediately stopped eating my meal and walked to my front office very frustrated. Told him what was going on asked him if they tested their units for mold before new tenants came in, and asked him to get me a copy of the last test results for mold in that unit. Then asked him to send someone to test my unit for mold, he said that he would get some one out hopefully by the end of the day to test, but there were two ac units out on the complex and those had priority.

I returned to my apt to take pictures of all the mold spots before maintenance could come clean it up. Then returned to the office to show the pictures of the mold to the person I was speaking with. At 6:00 P.M. we left the apartment for good, after maintenance got off for the day. No one showed up, of course, to test.

I called them at 10:00 A.M. on 8/16/2011 and reached someone, I asked if she knew when maintenance would be in to test the air in my apt to which she replied, we are not doing a test we are just cleaning the vents in your apartment. I asked her why she would do that, when I specifically asked for a test. I reiterated the fact I wanted a mold test done to see if I was being forced to breathe toxic mold in my apartment. At which point she refused a test, I then asked her to cancel the cleaning so I could have the apt independently tested to which she replied our management group does not let us cancel work orders.

I asked then if she would document in my file, that I was told I would receive a mold test the previous day, and I was now being told by her that they would not test my apartment for mold, if I asked them to in regards to my family’s safety. She told me she would make a statement when a claim was filed and a statement was needed from her. I decided to call the state board of health, which gave me many numbers to call for legal recourse.

Questions:

What can I do against my apartment company? Why won’t they test for me if I ask them to, are they in violation any laws or my rights? I have no idea of anything to do really this is my first place… Please check the photos and tell me if you think it may be mold exposure. Sorry for the quality I don’t have much money and am just working with a webcam.

YaMina in Irving, Texas

I have just moved into my apartment about a month ago on the 6th of July. Since I have moved in I have had multiple problems, however I was able to look over them.

When I first moved in I recleaned everything from my bathroom, kitchen, refrigerator, and bedroom. However in my freezer there is a part that is screwed down. I did not look under there until I spilt something in my freezer and started to clean it up. I unscrewed the screws to find black mold when I lifted the flap. I was very upset.

I have a lung condition that mold makes worse and my asthma starts to act up and I start to get sick. Which i had been in the weeks before and could not put my finger on why I was feeling sick and short of breath. So I informed my apartment complex about this, and they automatically assume that I took a picture of someone else’s apartment saying there was nothing they could do because I did not call them when it happened so that they could come and clean it. Now, when the situation happened it was about 10 or 11 at night not to mention if I would have called them I would have only been able to leave a message and I couldn’t leave my food out to spoil. I was and still am very upset with my apartment complex.

Questions:

What do you think I could do about this? Do I have the right to sue?

Katherine in Spring, Texas

I was in an office that had mold growing behind the wall for 8 months and I had no idea. In April, I went to the doctor and he prescribed an antibiotic, I took it. My health has been spiraling out of control since. I have uploaded a pic and would like to know if anyone can identify what that thing is, It is an image of something in my sputum. I have similar things in my blood. Doctors do not want to help me and treat me like a criminal, I assume it is because I came in contact with the stuff at work.

Questions:

Can someone identify what is in the pic I uploaded?

Naomi in New Braunfels, Texas

My mother’s house is about 100 years old and is in bad shape. She and my niece sleep in the same room, and are constantly coughing and experiencing congestion. The symptoms don’t go away, even after doctor visits (prescriptions for cough and congestive medicines). I’m thinking mold?

Bobby in Tomball, Texas

I have been renting for 5 year. When hurricane IKE came in to Texas we were without power for days and after that we started seeing water stains everywhere and at the back door the carpet was soaking wet. The landlord did little to nothing to fix these problems so every time it rained the carpet would get wet and then there would be mold.

The door threshold was rotted so badly that for the last two year we had an infestation of roly polys or Pill bugs in the house. I’m talking 200 plus. I had to fix this problem.

Then, in the first of March of 2011, I get a call from my wife. She said the downstairs toilet is overflowing. It’s like someone turned the faucet on – there is water everywhere. Just about that time I was pulling in the driveway. Cindy runs out to get me – “You need to see this the toilet is gushing water everywhere! It’s in the bathtub and in the hall, the girls room, and the living room!” I got the shop vac out and started to clean up. Cindy called the landlord. They got there in about 10 minutes to see the damage. Soon after they insinuated that this was our fault . They called the city services to come out and check the sewer lines.

The next day the landlord had a cleaning service out to clean up the mess. They push and piled the furniture out of the way, they cut the carpet back, big fans and dehumidifiers ran for days. The girls are now up stairs sleeping in the TV room because the downstairs is a wreck. NOW the landlord is going to fixing the damage from hurricane IKE. We are getting the whole inside of the house painted to hide the water stains from IKE and new carpet all the old molded carpet is now gone. And yes we are living in this mess while this is going on. This was no quick fix – a week to get the house dried out plus weeks to get the painting done and over a week to get the carpet in. Our landlord is getting money from the insurance company but he pick the cheapest and most unreliable people to do the work. The work was taking forever and I threatened to withhold the rent money.

The thing that caused the downstairs flooding was the downstairs toilet. They replace the downstairs and upstairs toilets (1980 models).

Then, on Wednesday March 23, Cindy and Ashley went to the Doctor. On that day they both were felling bad and they both had upper respiratory problems .Cindy went in with Ashley but Cindy wouldn’t see the doctor – she said we didn’t have the money.

Now it is March 27. This is the worst day of my F-ing life. I’m working on my computer in the garage because the house is still a wreck it is late and I am going to bed now. I think it is around 3am or so and I’m going in to the bedroom. My Cindy is on the bed and she is not breathing. She is cold. I gave her mouth to mouth, I begged, I pleaded, I called 911 when they got there they call her DOA in less than a minute.

Cindy was a homemaker she loved doing that. Cindy had to stay in that house while they painted and pulled the carpet. All that dust and that mold – she lived in that environment for 30 days and now she is dead.

On June 15, 2011 I got the autopsy report back. The first thing it showed is Sepsis, the second is Pneumonia.

Questions:

Is it possible my wife died because of the work being done on the house?
There was no offer from the landlord to leave while the house was under construction. Is the landlord liable for anything here? I live in Texas and I need guidance. Thank you, Bobby.

Sophia in Austin, Texas

We were in a house with mold. After moving out, we made the mistake of bringing all of our things with us. Now we have gotten rid of all of our clothes and furniture, but it seems that we may have gotten it in our carpet. There seems to be just enough in the house that we are still not feeling well. I am on many supplements and detox things to clear this out.

Questions:

Does anyone have any experience with this? If you detox it out of your body, it seems to then get on the bedding and towels. Is it still active at this point?