High School Mold Controversy

Imagine this scenario. Your teenage daughter gets sick with mysterious symptoms. After careful research you take her to see a mold specialist. The specialist implicates your daughter's High School as the source for the mold exposure. The district conducts testing and determines the school is safe. You are convinced the testing is inadequate. You ask permission to pay for more specialized testing. The school district refuses.

This drama is being played out in Roswell, New Mexico. Paul Taylor sued the school district in the fall of 2008, asserting that mold contamination made his daughter seriously ill. He was not suing for money, but for the right to have Goddard High School tested properly. In May of this year a judge ordered the school to allow Mr. Taylor to conduct the testing. The results were made public on September 22nd.

"Laboratory results and photos show Goddard High School to be a heavily water damaged building or 'sick building' as the terms are sometimes interchangeable. Taylor’s experts report that some of these indicators include mold growth in the air conditioning system and within the breathable airways, inadequate maintenance of the exterior building envelope over a period of many years, multiple avenues of water intrusion in the exterior building, evidence of prolonged and continued water exposure throughout the school interior, evidence of microbial growth on interior surfaces and within the air conditioning system, evidence of respiratory irritants and cancer-causing material (asbestos fibers) in the airstream pathways, and evidence of ineffective attempts to repair and or mitigate moisture and water intrusion problems within the school."

Penicillium, aspergillus, and stachybotrys were all found. The inspection report states that conditions are present at GHS to support continued mold growth. The report further states, "A single mold spore that colonizes can produce billions of spores. When the colony is threatened (disturbed and/or dessicated i.e. dries out) the colony disperses its spores as an episodic event."

The report offers an educational opportunity for anyone interested in learning about air quality issues. Mr. Taylor has created a website complete with reports and photographs.

Paul Taylor's Website with Inspection Reports

I admire Mr. Taylor's perseverance. He asked for this testing more than a year ago. He paid for it himself. And he has helped educate those of us in the audience as we watch the drama unfold.

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