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Teacher Disputes MMS Air Quality Findings

District sends indoor air quality tests to Public Employees Occupational Safety and Health program and is awaiting word.

A Milburn Middle School teacher, who filed a complaint about mold in MMS with the school board and the Public Employees Occupational Safety and Health program, disputes the district’s reports that the indoor air quality is in a “normal” or “acceptable” range at the school.

Mary Jean Alsina, who attributes her health problems to exposure to mold, said she told PEOSH last week that she believes the tests conducted by the school district were inadequate because the company took samples from a hallway for the control sample instead of outside. She said she also thinks the tests did not cover enough of the school, which has had been notorious for its leaky roof and stained ceiling tiles.

“Moisture is the biggest catalyst for mold growth, which only takes 24-48 hours to grow. Although the district has said they're fixing the problem, I've witnessed the ‘cleanup’ and it is insufficient as it was being done by custodians during school hours,” she said.

Superintendent James Crisfield looked at some pictures of moldy ceiling tiles and said that they were tiles that were removed from the school after the initial air quality reports were completed.

“The tiles in the pictures are gone--they were below the roof leaks and until we can get those leaks patched up this summer, there isn't much use in having tiles in those areas,” Crisfield said.

At a recent , Crisfield said the district was “taking it very seriously,” and that repeated tests  performed by certified indoor air quality control experts showed that the air quality levels were within the normal range.

Crisfield said that the PEOSH complaint is anonymous, but Alsina told Patch she made the complaint after she was not satisfied with the district’s response.

She sent out an email to parents alerting them to the situation and to her complaints, she said, because she didn’t want anyone children being exposed to mold.

"Parents have a right to know," she said.

The Millburn school district has emailed parents and announced at a public meeting the results of the indoor air quality tests. Officials have also sent the results to PEOSH and are waiting to hear back, Crisfield said.

Crisfield said because Alsina has an attorney he could not comment publicly on her specific claims, but added that Alsina’s opinions are “not necessarily facts.”

Alsina said she has adult onset asthma among other ailments that her doctor says are caused by mold exposure and she tested positive for two of the types of mold that were found in the school.

“Yes, I was in the room every day and for longer periods than the kids are,” she said. “But itt’s not just in the practice room, it’s all over.”

School officials are repairing the roof and overhauling the auditorium this summer and have said they will take care of any problems or potential problems at that time.

Milke Millburn June 11, 2012 at 02:13 PM
You should take some time and learn about the dangers of mold
M OKeef June 11, 2012 at 02:26 PM
So much money was spent expanding/refurbishing that school just a few years ago (3/4 years maybe if my memory is correct). How can we have so many roof leaks? Is there any warranty?
MarkDS June 11, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Dangers of SOME mold. Most mold you see is not particularly dangerous, and even that which is requires a certain level to be so. Mold is everywhere. And always has been.
mr anyonomous June 11, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Proper clean up requires a company to come in and clean and not during school hours! I happen to have mold as well and my 2 kids are sick with asthma. We have to move now. Mold is not removable by removing tiles or simple cleaning solutions. Anyone knows that. Small amounts of mold is normal not when it caused illness!
Marty Wilson June 11, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Milke (sic) Millburn, Teachers call in sick often when they not sick. They get a ton of sick days. I would say it is 50/50 that when a teacher calls in sick they are actually sick. After all, if they abuse their sick day privileges, what happens to their job - nothing, they don't lose their job or get a pay cut, they don't even get a reprimand. They are golden and protected...and their pension and health care benefits are bankrupting us by the minute.
Milke Millburn June 11, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Mold is everywhere. Problem is when it's growing in the school and making people sick. And I disagree that parents do not have to know. If the school was "safe" the parents shoul have been told before the teacher was made ill
mr anyonomous June 11, 2012 at 03:09 PM
My daughter said they served lunch while sewage was backing up in kitchen! That alone is disgusting now this!
Milke Millburn June 11, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Maybe it was a safe level of sewage lol
Acton June 11, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Milke, I really should. In fact, I'll do that as soon as you tell me where you are teaching, and have shared your scientific and medical bona fides with us. TIA.
Milke Millburn June 11, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Marty did u read the article and see the pictures? How is your comment relevant?
Milke Millburn June 11, 2012 at 03:47 PM
Hey Action try some simple websites like EPA and OSHA. Read about mold and how dangerous it is and how it should be cleaned. I'm not a teacher but I am open minded enough to realize that those pictures don't look right. Maybe after you educate yourself you will take some better cleanup procedures in your home.
JKH June 11, 2012 at 04:01 PM
I'm torn. On the one hand, I have a middle schooler who is highly allergic to mold. On the other hand, I wonder how effective we can be if we continue to try to collectively manage the Superintendent's office via this electronic town square. At some point, we need to let them do their job. We need to trust them to do their job. And therein lies the problem: We are not a community prone to trust....and we have let been down in the past. Let us hope Dr. Crisfield continues to earn that trust. So far, so good with me.
TruthAboutMold June 11, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Mold can cause serious health problems. For accurate information about the health effects of mold, go to http://truthaboutmold.info and check out the Global Indoor Health Network at http://globalindoorhealthnetwork.com. Be sure to read GIHN's new position statement which discusses the diagnosis and treatment of illness caused by mold.
mr anyonomous June 11, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Here's a thought? Why did they wait for a complaint to remove moldy tiles and fix leaks? They care alright!
Nantz June 11, 2012 at 05:00 PM
Acton - there ain't nothing good about black mold. Mr. Clean is not going to do the job.
Nantz June 11, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Black mold isn't good in any form or quantity. I wouldn't send my kid to school there until the entire building has mold remediation performed on it and approved by a third party quality review company.
Nantz June 11, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Not since the mid 80's and early 90's could you trust them to do their job.
Milke Millburn June 11, 2012 at 05:19 PM
I'm glad to see some people reading this "get it". Action did you read up?
Marty Wilson June 11, 2012 at 05:35 PM
Mr. A, Note that the teacher waited until after the contract was settled to bring up the 'mold' issue. Milke - I couldn't tell from the pics whether it was leaks or mold. The reason they don't fix it is that the overgenerous teachers' perks and benefits have milked (no pun intended) the budget dry for routine capital expenditures. If you are wondering why there are so many leaks after we just finished a mega-huge capital improvement project which required a $20+ million bond referendum, then you and I are thinking along the same lines. It is probably because they required public sector union workers to do the cap-ex work. For any improvements in the public sector union death grip/spiral we find ourselves in, we should all think like Wisconsites.
Acton June 11, 2012 at 06:10 PM
I read up. I'll bet we have a lot of Henry Pennys. Black mold is not necessarily toxic to humans. I suppose the public's irrational overreaction to mold fears should be expected. If I am wrong, i will eat a moldy cheese sandwich on public television. We shall see.
Milke Millburn June 11, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Ok Action your comments speak volumes. The literature is pretty clear. Live with blinders on. Tell Crisfield I said hi lol
Acton June 11, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Mi[l]ke, Speaking of blinders, it is Acton, not Action.
mr anyonomous June 11, 2012 at 09:03 PM
Btw this teacher emailed parents before contract was signed so get facts straight.
Michael Roland Williams June 12, 2012 at 12:42 AM
This is a very common unfortunately. While produced and directing the feature documentary Black Mold Exposure at BlackMoldExposureMovie.com I interviewed countless teachers and this was a very common situation they encountered.
Kates314 June 12, 2012 at 01:57 AM
Thank you Michael for commenting on Millburn-Patch. A town I am now ashamed ro be from. Toxic mold nearly killed me, as you know too well. It's not a joke. As a resident & have gone through this school system, I will be keeping up on this story. Maybe when their children ate nearly deprives of their life & theorem life is forever changed by daily health battles; will they maybe believe in the true hard scientific evidence that mold kills.
Kates314 June 12, 2012 at 02:00 AM
Apologize on the spelling mistakes that were wrongly auto-corrected... Writing angrily, I did not proof read. If you want to know what Toxic mold does to lives, ask a Short Hills resident.
Milke Millburn June 12, 2012 at 11:42 AM
Thank you Michael and Kates. I commend you for educating the Acton's and Marty's of the world who are more worried about money rather than the safety of children and those who teach children.
Steve Temes June 15, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Mold affects people immunologically, not toxicologically. If someone is reacting to mold contamination in the building, it is not because it is particularly dangerous. What level of peanut dust in the school is dangerous?
Linda Delp June 16, 2012 at 12:43 PM
You can say some mold are not bad but many are very dangerous and I know people all over the country that are sick and many are teachers. I can see the stains and if the roof leaks it is a problem. The worse mold is the kind that gets wet and dries and went again over and over. You do not do work in the building while people are in there unless the place is sealed off. People have died including a judge when his chambers had water damage. You not only have mold but many kinds of bacteria and other issues. Never just blow off water damage. My life changed 14 years ago when it got intot he air system and you couldn't even see mold or water but it was in the foundation behind the walls in the basement. After the heatlh department came they discovered the mold.
Chuck June 21, 2012 at 02:06 AM
This might be a nice read for people involved, "Guidelines on Assessment and Remediation of Fungi in Indoor Environments" http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/epi/moldrpt1.shtml

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