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Kirstin in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

by Jonathan

In March of this year I moved into a 2 bedroom home with my boyfriend that had been purchased by a friend’s mother and my friend was residing in the residency as well. At first it seemed to smell the way old homes smell. However, it became clear after cleaning out all the garbage from the basement and viewing the beams and the walls that there was a major mold infestation.

The bathroom shower faucet had been leaking and when my boyfriend replaced it, he found that it was not just leaking into the bathtub but rather down the back of the tub and into the basement. Underneath the bathroom almost every beam is covered in mold.

About 2 months after living in the home my allergies increased dramatically but it was Spring so I thought it might be the area of the city. Then my eyes became irritated and red on a daily basis. I was going through a box of kleenex every three days, and my throat now feels as though I have to clear it every 20minutes or so (like I was a smoker but have never smoked a cigarette in my life). S0 I read online a blacklight can be used to see mold on concrete walls. EVERY wall in the basement had mold! Some visible by the naked eye and was yellow and white.

My roomate at first denied knowing anything about it. I scrubbed the walls with borax and then bleach. We painted the walls with sealant and Killz and noticed the walls had been painted over mold and a long mark along the wall indicating the basement had at least a foot of standing water at one time.

The insulation that had been placed in the walls just a few years ago(so I’m told) had mold behind it and starting to grow on it. Insulation had been stuck in the basement windows and had mold growing on it as well. My roommate finally admitted to knowing there had been mold when she moved in. My boyfriend checked the attic and discovered it was not insulated properly and almost all of the windows are not sealed in the home.

We went to our landlord’s house and discussed this with her and she denied ever knowing there had been mold but the smell and visible signs are unmistakable. I already gave my 30 day notice as I am on a month to month lease. I do not believe the landlord will do anything to improve the situation and fear what will happen to the next tenant. Is information like this supposed to be handed over to some safety commission or something?

It’s just a tragic situation because both landlord and daughter are oblivious to the work needed to fix the home. They purchased the home with the palmer valve broken and water is just sitting around the home and not draining away. We just noticed the floor under the bathtub has moisture on the beams after someone showers and the floor is cracking. The basement walls have large cracks between the cement blocks and it appears soon the basement walls might cave in. We tried explaining the necessity of putting in a sumppump but our roommate told her mom it was too expensive and not that big of deal and should make sure an airconditioner is bought first. So with nothing else to do, my boyfriend and I are moving out.

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Chrissy Mann August 17, 2011 - 9:06 am

Hi Kirstin, Unfortunately your story is not unique or unusual when it comes to mold. Most people are not aware of the ramifications of having a property that is contaminated and basically ignore the situation until push comes to shove and they are faced with a disaster. After completing a mold inspection in Omaha, Nebraska, our client took her mold report down to the city/county and presented it to code enforcement and they immediately took action to condemn the building. All the occupants were notified that they would have to move out and the owner was forced to clean up the mold infestation. Fortunately for these tenants, someone in Omaha understands the dangers of ‘toxic, pathogenic’ mold. You are so wise to leave as soon as possible. When bleach is used to treat pathogenic mold, endotoxins are created. They are some of the most dangerous biohazards known. After I spoke with three of the top scientists at the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and explained this, bleach was removed from their website as a treatment for mold. I only say this because many believe that bleach is one way to go, when it is a volatile substance in itself and should be used with great caution. I seriously wonder how much skin cancer may be due to wearing clothing that has been treated in bleach. If you notice sensitivity to your clothing, try washing them in non-chemical detergent and ammonia. Ammonia will neutralize the mycotoxins which are released from mold spores. Since you have lived in what appears to be a contaminated house, you want to avoid cross contamination where you move items that have been contaminated into a clean environment. This is a whole other subject in itself. Getting out is the best thing you can do.

Robert August 18, 2011 - 10:16 am

Dear Kirstin, Good to know you are moving out. If you are concerned about taking contaminated belongings with you, we can help you with that. We offer a portable system that uses positive air pressure to supply treated air that will actually “kill” mold and mold spores that could be coming along with you. Our units kill both in the air and on surfaces. They also kill viruses and bacteria. I would be glad to talk with you about this at your convenience. You can check us out at http://www.airandmoldtech.com Don’t leave in fear!


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