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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.

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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.

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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.

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3 thoughts on “Andrew in Houston, Texas

  1. Andrew, even as I’m sorry that you’ve had a bad experience I am also very glad to hear that you both have been able to get out. Mold exposure is a very dangerous thing and you’ve experienced what it can do first hand.

    The good news is that your exposure wasn’t spread out over a long period of time. Your bodies have an incredible ability to heal. Drink lots of water, get sunlight, fresh air, plenty of rest, and stay away from mold. Give yourself some time and you should notice a dramatic improvement.

    As for your options for recourse, I’ll defer that to folks with more experience in that matter.

    Thank you for sharing your story and I wish you both a speedy recovery.

  2. Hi Andrew, I believe that it would be a good thing to follow up with the numbers you were given by your state board of health. I think Texas may have laws on the books for people in your situation. Call code enforcement and see if you have any recourse. Also your local Clerk of Courts may be able to help also. You will need a professional mold inspector who can run tape lift, swab, and air sampling and then submit them to a laboratory to provide you with scientific proof that your apt is contaminated. You need viable evidence if you plan on pursuing this legally. Your photos are quite indicative of a possible mold infestation; however the mold testing will verify or disqualify the severity of your situation.

  3. Dear Andrew, While you are dealing with your aparment company, we can offer you a portable affordable system that will begin to kill the mold immediately. At least this will begin to give you some relief until you get some resolution. Please contact us asap and we will be glad to go over your options and begin to give you some relief. Let Air & Mold Technologies help you out!

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