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Maria in Montreal, Quebec

I am NOT a building: Mould misery in Montreal

I am NOT a building, I am a human being!
I live in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and I am a victim of mould poisoning.
On February 4th, 2014, there was water infiltration in my bathroom. Later that day, my landlord proceeded to open a hole in the bathroom ceiling. Right way, I could see the black mould, but my landlord refused to believe me. ( I knew that there was black mould because I am a teacher and a Union Representative, and my Union had sent me to a workshop about mould, given the fact that so many schools have mould). My landlord just wanted to patch up the hole, but I requested that City Inspectors be called. The City sent two inspectors, on February 7th, 2014, who lacked the necessary knowledge about mould identification. During their inspection, they just pulled out pink fibreglass, which was visibly filled with black mould. They asked me for a garbage bag and put the contaminated fibreglass in there. However, they claimed there was not any mould and informed the landlord to repair the hole in the bathroom ceiling. They did not even have a stapler and just stapled the plastic back, to cover the hole, with my household stapler. When questioned about this, they joked that City Inspectors had it tough without staplers. Despite a recommendation, by the very competent Montreal Public Health, and a picture of this shameful plastic stapling of the hole in my bathroom ceiling, included within their 20 page report, the plastic in the bathroom ceiling remains poorly stapled and not taped. The City never sent anyone to fix the improperly attached plastic, which allows water to drip down when it rains. A video was made of the pathetic way the City Inspectors inspected for mould. This video should be put on YouTube to shame the City into giving proper mould training and adequate mould detection tools to their inspectors. Especially, those two clowns, who came to my home and their misguided actions about mould detection ruined our lives. Lest we forget, that the City should, at least, buy their inspectors garbage bags, an industrial stapler and rolls of tape, for them to do proper mould inspections.
Horrified by the incompetence of the City Inspectors, I paid $460 for an Air Quality Expert to perform tests. These tests revealed the presence of deadly black mould spores, not only in the bathroom, but also in my daughter’s room. I started to contact the City Inspectors’ bosses, who were not cooperative. One City official met with me and after seeing the video of their two City Inspectors and being told that the spores where cross-contaminating my home, just told me that there was not much to be done. Later, I called the Mayor, from my borough, who told me that I could call the Pope, and that the City would sue me if I did not stop calling to get help for the mould problem. Consequently, my daughter and I showed up at the City Hall meetings, but could not be heard. Upon seeing our names on the list, the borough’s Mayor and a City Counsellor came out to speak to us, and a meeting was arranged with the landlord, who until this day has not followed through with the repairs or the decontamination of our personal effects.
Prior to that, I also called Public Health. Public Health was great, and sent my daughter and me to one of their doctors, and also sent two Environmental Scientists, who performed tests inside my home and on the outside of the building. These tests revealed further anomalities and recommended that an investigation for mould should be done in my daughter’s room and in my bedroom.
As March 2014 continued, my daughter and I became more and more ill. Allergy tests were done and I tested positive for every type of mould possible and many other allergens. Actually, the allergist and the doctor stated that they had never seen quite a reaction to mould like I had. My daughter and I had constant flu symptoms, fever, sinus infections, persistent coughs, headaches, nausea, etc, that started a few days after the initial mould spores were spread by the landlord and later by the City Inspectors. These unhealthy symptoms are still present and they play havoc with our health. I am now using three asthma pumps and my daughter needs to take probiotics in order to digest her food. I have two corneal transplants and my vision has become worse. Due to the fact that the mould spores cross-contaminated the entire house we became more ill.
Public Health tried to evacuate us, but because we were moving at the beginning of July, it was recommended that we were too ill to be evacuated and it would be safer to have only one move. Despite recommendations, from Public Health, that ALL our furniture, appliances and personal property be decontaminated before we move, the City of Montreal states that they only concern themselves with the repairs to the building and not with ordering the landlord to address the decontamination process.
This is outrageous because my daughter and I, we, are NOT a building, but we are human beings, who are poisoned by mould, caused by the negligence of our landlord and two incompetent City Inspectors. We have contacted the mayor of our borough, City Counsellors, as well as, shown up at Town Hall Meetings, where our number to speak is not drawn. A letter was sent, by the City, to the landlord, for him to do the repairs, a meeting was arranged with the landlord, by the Mayor of the borough, a date for the work to be done was set for May 20th, but the landlord did not comply. We made reservations at a hotel, in order to stay there during the work to be done, but no work was done. Eventually, the landlord brought two companies to my home on
May 27th, but they refused to address the decontamination process. The landlord never did any work and claims that we did not want the work to be done, when we wanted the work done a long time ago and keep imploring for our possessions to be decontaminated in order for us to be able to move. Most people when they move just pack up their items, by putting them in a box and moving them. Unfortunately, I do not have that luxury, as everything I owe has to either be washed, wiped with vinegar, bleach, Borax, all my furniture needs to be vacuumed and cleaned, and all my appliances and electronic equipment need
to be professionally decontaminated.
We cannot, in good conscience, take any contaminated items into our other duplex apartment, but no one seems to understand this and the City just gives us politicians’ talk, which is a language spoken by bulls! One City Councillor and a political attaché used to call and they made a useless visit to our dwelling without any follow-up, but to reiterate that the City only cares about the repairs to the building, but I am not a building, but a victim of mould poisoning By no fault if my own.
Meanwhile, I have another apartment waiting for me to move into, but I cannot bring any of my personal property until it is decontaminated. The decontamination is very expensive and I sit in limbo waiting for my landlord’s insurance company to take action and to decontaminate my personal effects. I
am a prisoner in the old duplex, until we can go to the Rental Board on July 15th. I keep calling the City, but to no avail, as they refuse to make the landlord decontaminate my items. My calls are not given much importance and I am told that the City cannot force a landlord to decontaminate. It is a pity, because the City and landlords need to have the civic, moral and ethical obligation to decontaminate the property of their tenants. Especially, if they are responsible for the contamination by mould spores. In my case, the landlord and the two City Inspectors are equally responsible for contaminating my dwelling by spreading mould spores everywhere and by allowing cross-contamination to take place.
The Department of Public Health in Montreal has been outstanding in order to help us, but the City of Montreal is more interested in the work to be done to the concrete building rather than in the two human beings, who live within that building. Mould has ruined my health and my life and that of my daughter. City Municipalities need to implement legislation about mould contamination and its toxic effects on the health of its citizens. City Councillors and Mayors need to abide by the recommendations of Public Health and they need to give Public Health more power. We are eternally indebted to Public Health for their above average performance in our mould nightmare.
My story needs to be told in order to prevent another family in Montreal, or elsewhere, from going through the tragedy and the misery that mould contamination can spread. Mould spores are invisible, but their effects have dire and permanent health consequences. Please make elected City Officials aware of the dangers of mould exposure and lobby them to change the laws, in order to make citizens a priority and not buildings.
This is the urgent plight of a mother, a teacher, a citizen, and a human being poisoned by mould in Montreal, whose health, and that of her daughter, should be given priority over a building. Thus, we hope and pray that one soul out there will agree that the quality of human life and air should far surpass that of a building. Our appreciation for listening to our mould nightmare!

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4 thoughts to “Maria in Montreal, Quebec”

  1. My family and I agree with you and understand fully ! We too are sick from mould . I myself already had asthma and was hospitalised for 6 days last October because of mould poisoning ! It took all 6 days just for me to be able to breath right again and I’m very lucky that’s all it took ! Our daughter is 4 yrs old now and has repeatedly been seen by her doctor and at the E.R. all due to respiratory issues which she had none of before we moved here . The Landlord does not care nor does the land owner, Its all about them making money and it stops right there . We are now living in our living room and kitchen ONLY as those are the least moldiest places in our home . We have closed off the rest of the home and only go into the bathroom when absolutely necessary ! Now my landlord has served me with eviction papers and claims he has this place sold . Well I’m NOT moving and YES I want to go to court . How dare he ignore this and try to hurt another family . The people who think they want to buy this place have 3 small children under the age of ten . My landlord has got to be nuts ! I have 40 pictures each of a different area that is affected and an attorney so I’m ready . We have started looking for another place but like you said we really can’t use anything we have in our current residence because its ALL contaminated !!! I want to see what a judge thinks ?

  2. My heart goes out to you, such sad stories! Unfortunately, mold illness is not yet an accepted illness and there are very few legal recourses for us except to move out and leave everything behind, or put it in storage, until you are well enough to deal with it. We must protect ourselves first! You may likely lose the court battles, but your health must come first! You cannot fight both battles at the same time!
    Even with your 3rd party mold tests, you may still lose. As I’m sure you can appreciate, the problem of mold in water damaged buildings is HUGE and no gov’t wants to deal with it.
    Is it Stachybotris in your insulation? If so, fortunately its spores don’t move very far, so the contamination of your possessions may not be too bad yet. Seal the plastic yourself as best you can, or better, get the hell out of there! Even if they do “remediate”, it will likely blow EVERYWHERE into your home if they don’t do it correctly, and the correct way is very expensive (negative pressure containment).
    Don’t contaminate your new home by moving contaminated items in!
    I’ve heard that aflatoxin (from Aspergillus) is destroyed by sunlight, and I’m experimenting with that. Toxins from other molds like Stachy are only destroyed by fire or 500*F, as far as I know, although you may be able to dislodge them from smooth surfaces and MAYBE from paper (highly unlikely). Stachy spores are sticky and large, so they may be harder to get rid of, but they don’t move very far on their own.
    You must ONLY vacuum and decontaminate your possessions OUTSIDE because no HEPA will capture the mycotoxins which are very, very small. Fortunately, it’s my understanding that most mycotoxin- containing spores and hyphae are easily dislodged from smooth surfaces, so just blowing on them with a compressor (outside) might dislodge most of it from your possessions. You’re supposed to wipe down walls and floors with a Borax solution, but I’m no where NEAR well enough to even contemplate that.
    Keeping humidity below 60% will help since most toxic molds cannot grow below this humidity.
    Washing down your possessions (even with a hose), allowing it to dry in the sun, and then moving it in might work. Water will activate mycotoxins, so be sure you do this in a well ventilated area.
    Best of luck to you, my dear!

  3. Hi Maria;

    My name is Cathy Genco and I have a similar story to yours . I lived in a toxic mold appartment(roof leakage) here in Montreal for 4 years , my son and I are still very sick. I went to so many places, seen doctors, lawyers and rental board nothing was done. In conclusion the only thing I am doing is trying to detox slowly bought new furniture, i have so many stomach and skin problems. To top it all off the rental board actually sent me a letter after being in court 2 x that i have to pay my landlord for what? For gettiing us sick, throwing out most of my clothes furniture mattresses and not to mention the health issues . I used to have hallucinations , my son was very aggressive with me we had neurological disorders , I could go on forever and I couldn t figure out why we had all these problems until a friend came by and noticed we had mold in our home. The landlord was sueing the previous owners who sold him the house for roof problems but yet I didn t get any credit at the rental board ? How crooked this system is!!! So all I can advise you is get out of this toxic place your health is prior to all this and try to throw out everything that is contaminated not worth it. You can e mail if you d like .
    Good Luck to you my dear !

  4. hello, I have a mould problem. I am also a Quebec renter. I came across your valuable information. my landlord simply wants to tape the shower and recaulk the mould problem. Would you be able to help me via email? it’s provided.

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