All across the U.S. many prisons have mold problems, including Aspergillus, also known as black mold. Union leaders are worried about the impact on correctional officers.
California is among the states with extensive complaints. At the Mendota prison, prison guards say no air conditioning during record heat and toxic black mold at high levels are making inmates and staff sick.
No Remediation Efforts
Officers are working in prisons where mold is making them sick, because many prison leaders have refused to teat it. Extensive mold has been found in areas populated by both officers and inmates.
Due to policies started in 2015, prison leaders have stalled with remediation of the molds, including refusing to hire qualified companies to adequately eliminate it.
Union leaders are expressing grave concern. Recently a Union memo stated, “Currently there is no OSHA standard for unacceptable levels of mold in the workplace .”
It also says bureau officials “do not recommend hiring an outside contractor as a first step.”
The memo, written by Sylvie Cohen, the Bureau of Prisons chief of occupational and employee health, has been understood by wardens across the country to mean potentially harmful mold, particularly black mold, that employees breathe in every day at work should not be tested.
Union leaders report multiple health issues of current and former prison employees who have to breathe in the mold without protective gear.
Read more about this situation in the Miami Herald’s Special Report on prison conditions.