Jackson, MS – Another very ill family states their north Jackson apartment is making them sick. They say a leaky pipe is to blame for soaking carpets, damaging their floors and fostering a serious threat to their health.
In another hotly debated mold claim debated from tenant to landlord, Cheryl Hughes says she when she moved to Pepper Mill apartments she noticed hot water leaking down the kitchen cabinets. “It started running, like, it was just running like you’re taking a bath,” said Hughes. Hughes says she began asking management more than one year ago to fix the hot water leak.
That request came before the cabinets grew mold. Hughes pointed to the underside of the cabinets, saying, “And if you’ll look under here it’s nothing but mold. Nothing but black mold!” Black mold, technically known as stachybotrys, has been linked to permanent neurological, pathological, immunological, and psychological damages. It is one of the most toxic substances known to mankind.
Mold covers the bottom of the cabinets, crusts the inside of the cabinets, hangs from the ceiling and spreads beneath the bathroom flooring. Hughes first noticed the mold growing in the corner of her kitchen counter. A few weeks later, she noticed it had spread to the air vents. “I think it’s making me sick,” said Hughes, tearing up as she described symptoms of nausea and the fear that her daughter, son-in-law, and 8 month old granddaughter who also live in the apartment will be harmed by the mold. Hughes said she begged management to fix the pipes and clean up the mold. “Their answer was to spray paint this mold,” said Hughes, pointing to mold growing throughout the inside of black spray painted cabinets.
Hughes is not the only resident with complaints. Clarence McGee saw WLBT in the complex and asked the cameras to take a look at his floor. McGee describes his carpeting, saying, “(It’s) like a little, miniature swimming pool.” In McGee’s refrigerator, the crisping drawer is anything but crisp. It is filled with water from yet another leak.
Hughes says she has turned to the government for help to no avail. “The mayor’s office said to call y’all. DHS said to call y’all. But where are they? Why can’t they come over here and see this? It’s because they don’t have to live in it,” said Hughes. This is just another disgrace that Americans have to live with as the government turns their backs on the general public in their time of a public health crisis. But Hughes says she does not have the choice to live somewhere else, just like so many others, as they either turn to their toxic homes of death and disability or, like so many, the streets. She says her hot water heater runs non-stop, raising her hot water bill to more than $500 a month, a price too high to afford a deposit on another apartment. “We can’t get out. We can’t go nowhere,” said Hughes.