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!