Dracut-MA- The Farrell family is learning a hard lesson about home ownership thanks to aspergillus and Penicillium, widely known as mycotoxin-producing mold, which is becoming very prevalent in homes nowadays. Many experts have their ideas why there is such strange fungal disarray, but few will speak publicly about this highly political topic.
A somewhat minor recurring water leak that first emerged in their Barry Avenue home in 1991 started a mold colonization that has left Doreen Farrell sick to her stomach (literally) and the house on the chopping block.
The Farrells have plans to knock down the entire house and rebuild from the ground up because portions are so badly infested with mold that Doreen has been living in a trailer next door since June. Even the ground is toxic and new soil will have to be brought in to rebuild correctly. Not even heat, until it reaches 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, according to experts, will kill stachybotrys.
Her husband, Brian, and two teenage sons are unaffected by the mold and continue to live in the house.
Doctors have told Doreen she is extremely hypersensitized to mold. Her other symptoms include fatigue and an exacerbated case of psoriasis, which is common with aspergllis exposure. The family dog, Boo, was also treated for an eye ulcer was diagnosed with mold exposure. Veterinarians have a better eduation and understanding of pathagenic fungi than most physicians. This is mostly due to the strong influence of the drug industry. Doreen believes she is suffering from a similar reaction that struck Pepperell’s Nancy Davis, who was forced to move out of her home because of mold.
Farrell sought the advice and help of Davis, who is leading an effort to increase awareness about the dangers of potentially toxic mold.
“When she heard about me, she was like, ‘Oh my God, I think I need to talk to this woman,’ ” Davis said. A mutual contractor referred the Farrells to the Davises, who had no alternative but to sue local real-estate agents and a home inspector. The Davises say they failed to notify them of a dangerous mold problem before they purchased their house. This left them with permanent and debilitating health problems and they had to suffer the consequences of abandoning their dream home with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Life has been extremely tough for them, but they had no other alternative. The Davis family, who had never been in a litigation in their lives, has suffered immensely due to the fact the mold destroyed their lives.
The Farrells are not suing anyone and only have Mother Nature to blame. This is a common misconception among people who suffer from fungal disease due to sick buildings. Most mold victims don’t sue unless they have no other alternative, and it costs a great deal of money to hire an attorney and show the burden of proof, since the insurance industry has hired such well paid “experts” at up to $40,000 per day who have even published papers to “argue” dose response, mycotoxin ingestion vs. inhalation, etc., but their house of cards is slowly falling, and they know it. Even veternary studies, NIH, US Army, and a multiplicity of credentialed physicians worldwide have published hundreds of papers illustrating the permanent neurological, immunoloigical, pathalogical, and psycholigcal effects of fungal exposure. Even the World Health Organization states that certain, yet common fungal exposure leads to certain autoimmune disease (the data is available on this site).
Mold problems, which homeowners are only now slowly learning about due to much misinformation that has been propagandized from large corporations, can strike anywhere moisture is present. This can happen within 24 to 48 hours. Any mycologist, microbiologist, industrial hygienst or certified environmental specialist will tell you that. It knows no boundaries and affects the rich, the poor, famous and not-so famous. However, it appears that governmental officials and the affluent get special attention, therefore, appear to be more “prone” to it. The middle class, and poor, if they complain, are generally likened to whiners or gold-diggers.
For example, In 1999, then-Gov. George W. Bush commissioned the removal of fungus (stachybotrys) from the governor’s mansion in Texas, at the taxpayers expense of $300,000. That year, the state of Texas was going through a recession (we are not blaming Bush for this) and this expense was a gross expense for the budget.
In 2003, actress Jennifer Aniston discovered mold in the garage next to the Hollywood Hills home she shared with husband Brad Pitt after two years of renovation of the old home. The same house has been in the market for an unusually amount of time given the famous former occupants most likely due to the mold problem.
Governor Kathleen Blanco (Louisiana) has been residing outside of the Governors mansion. The mansion has been undergoing an $800,000 renovation, $500,000 of which is for mold removal.
Also In 2003, Bryan Brown, who leads the consumer protection division for Kansas State Atty. Gen. Phill Kline, sued Kansas Republican Party Chairman Tim Shallenburger over the home Brown purchased from Shallenburger, which was reported to have mold. Brown said things started falling apart in the house and that his children became ill because of mold.
Mr. Brown, quite hypocritically, has not taken any known stance in the state of Kansas to assist numerous average citizens claiming difficulty from mold. This would support the current scientific evidence frequently used in mold litigation.
Mold is only dangerous for government officials and their families. As further evidence of this phenomenon and according to a survey conducted by the National Insurance Affiliation, 99.9% of average citizens complaining of mold illnesses are reported to be liars and whiners.
After a $5.6 million dollar renovation of the South Carolina Governors Mansion three years earlier, First Lady Jenny Sanford said stachybotrys was causing health problems with her family. Stachybotrys is a known toxin producing mold. According to Mike Sponhour, spokesman for the South Carolina State Budget and Control Board which oversees maintenance on the building, ?We understand the concern the first lady has for the health of her family and children. We take that very seriously. We?re committed to doing everything we can to fix the problem and make sure it doesn?t happen again.? Like numerous other government officials? families from across the US, Governor Sanford?s family is apparently highly susceptible to mold induced illnesses.
Another government official who may suffer from susceptibility that the average citizen does not, is North Carolina Governor Mike Easley. In August of this year, he and his family were forced to move from the governor?s mansion because of mold. This is the second time in four years that the 114 year old mansion has been invaded by mold. According to Secretary of Administration Gwynn Swinson, the governor and his family needed to clear out for health reasons.
The problem seems to only affect the affluent, but for the commoner, they are considered whiners and gold-diggers. Case in point, Melinda Ballard, 48, settled for less than a fmere raction of the $32 million that she was awarded after it was appealed and appealed. Ballard’s husband and son suffered severe cognitive damage, and Ballard, herself, suffered from a multiplicity of health problems from fungal exposure in her dream home. But after Farmers Insurance appealed the case until there was nothing left, and Ballard was paying interest on borrowed money that was racking up each month, she was forced to settle up for unextremely small settlement that didn’t cover court costs, attorney fees, medical fees, additional iving expenses, and new furnishings. No one ever wins in these cases when you see the damage that is caused medically and mentally.
This is further proof of the middle class receiving no justice.
Additionally, mold seems to be portrayed as an “allergen” when in fact, many of the indoor molds that people suffer from are “toxin” producing molds.
The key to noticing mold, experts say, is identifying problem areas as quickly as possible, and abating it, if it is dangerous.
Mold can grow on almost anything stainless steel, glass and tile, and thrives in an environment that allows moisture, high humidity and the presence of nitrogen and oxygen, according to www.mold-help.org, It feeds off of organic material like oil, film, dirt and human skin cells. The only thing that mold doesn’t eat is sulphur.
It is very stubborn and difficult to kill.
“When it got worse and started spreading, my husband fixed the corners of the house,” Doreen Farrell said. “The mold kept spreading and we couldn’t figure out what was going on.”
“I used Clorox bleach over the baseboards, but I couldn’t get rid of it,” she said. Clorox just got into trouble with the EPA for giving false information for their Tilex product. They even stated that their product doesn’t kill mold, only bacteria. This will truly fool the hurricane victims, which their cheesy marketing campaign is most likely aimed at innocent hurricane victims.
The Farrells reported the problem six months ago to their insurance company, Arbella. An air-quality test confirmed the obvious the home was infested with mold.
But because the Farrells did not report the problem when it started in ’91, Arbella refused to cover any remediation costs. Rebuilding their home, according to one contractor Farrell says is cutting her a break, will cost around $170,000. A permit is pending before town boards. Since remediation is always so costly due to the removal of compromised materials (in some cases), many responsible parties so not want to cover expenses. Therefore, they want to cover the entire incidence up. The same thing happened with tobacco in the 1960’s and silicone implants in the 1990’s and the same defense “experts” who were hired then are hired now. We have the CV’s and background checks to prove it.
With no immediate place to turn, Doreen Farrell placed a call to Davis, who could sympathize with her plight. “It’s a gigantic problem,” Davis said. “Remediators are charging 10 times more than they should and there are no guarantees. There are no regulations or laws. Some mold experts are unscrupulous people.” Since the government has failed to take responsibility and set regulations, there are many unscrupulous people out there who take advantage of people in this situation. For a list of pre-screened, evaluated companies, go to www.mold-help.com.
Davis, who now lives in a Pepperell apartment with her husband and 7-year-old son, is looking to change all that. She is lobbying for state legislation that would require home sellers to alert buyers of potential mold problems. She points to a pending bill in the state Senate as a good starting point.
Senate Bill 657, proposed by Sen. Robert O’Leary, a Barnstable Democrat, would establish a task force to study mold and its effects on people.
Mold is a huge problem in private homes and public buildings on Cape Cod, which is O’Leary’s neck of the woods.
“This is a fact-finding mission,” said Erica Bollerud, O’Leary’s legislative aide. “There is a lot of conflicting science on mold and the effects it has on people,” she claims, despite the conflicting evidence that proves the permanent neurological, pathalogical, immunological, and psychological damage that many inddor molds can cause, including US Army biological warfare documents. After O’Leary’s aid made this outrageous statement, many constituants in her area were confused by this conflicting statement.
The committee would review that and make the general public aware of it. That might include a step toward buyer-beware mold legislation.
“That is a huge part,” Bollerud said. “When you buy a new house do you know what you are getting?” The bill rests in the hands of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, Bollerud said.
Still, any public discourse on the subject is a good sign, according to Davis, who may soon be joined by Farrell in her fight.
“Nancy was great,” Doreen Farrell said. “She helped me a great deal and I hope to work with Nancy and help others down the road.”
Eventually, something realistic needs to be done at a federal level. Hopefully, it will happen soon.