Rats Invade CSI:
CSI Welcomes Rats into School Gym
The gymnasium floor at the College of Staten
Island is being ripped up and replaced, after water leaking from an
adjacent shower room seeped underneath it — creating a perfect
breeding ground for mold in the insulation under the floor.
The contracting company (AWL Industries)
recently sealed off the southwest corner of the building and is now removing
the mold, tearing up the floor and decontaminating the area. The project
is scheduled to be finished by mid-June.
However, what is extremely suspicious is the fact that
CSI officials would not disclose the specific type of mold detected in
In addition, the repair project is not without controversy.
As AWL employees inside the gymnasium continue with their work, members
of the Asbestos, Lead and Hazardous Waste Laborers, Local 78, of the
Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) inflated
a 15-foot rat in front of the campus because a non-union contractor was
awarded the job.
They passed out flyers blasting the Dormitory Authority
and detailing health hazards associated with mold, and insist they are
more qualified in handling mold remediation. The state agency countered
that employees do not need to be trained in asbestos removal and are
qualified to perform the job at hand.
“The rat shows up at any public works project that
does not use union labor,” Ms. Hutton said. “The nice thing
about the rat is that you can deflate him and bring him to the next site
and he makes a nice photo.”
“For the sake of the students, I pray to God that
they are doing the right thing,” said Bill Doscher, a union organizer
who was stationed next to the inflatable rat yesterday. “In our
opinion, they are not qualified.”
How can mold affect your health
Too much exposure to mold may cause or worsen conditions such as asthma, hay
fever, or other allergies. The most common symptoms of overexposure are cough,
congestion, runny nose, eye irritation, and aggravation of asthma. Depending
on the amount of exposure and a person’s individual vulnerability,
more serious health effects - such as fevers and breathing problems - can
occur but are unusual.
How can you be exposed to mold?
When moldy material becomes damaged or disturbed, spores (reproductive bodies
similar to seeds) can be released into the air. Exposure can occur if people
inhale the spores, directly handle moldy materials, or accidentally ingest
it. Also, mold can sometimes produce chemicals called mycotoxins. Mycotoxins
may cause illness in people who are sensitive to them or if they are exposed
to large amounts in the air.
What is Stachybotrys chartarum?
Stachybotrys chartarum (also known as Stachybotrys atra) is a type of mold
that has been associated with health effects in people. It is a greenish-black
mold that can grow on materials with a high cellulose content - such as drywall
sheetrock, dropped ceiling tiles, and wood - that become chronically moist
or water-damaged, due to excessive humidity, water leaks, condensation, or
How can you tell if Stachybotrys chartarum is present?
Many molds are black in appearance but are not Stachybotrys. For example, the
black mold commonly found between bathroom tiles is not Stachybotrys. Stachybotrys
can be positively identified only by specially trained professionals (e.g.,
mycologists) through a microscopic exam.
How can Stachybotrys chartarum affect your health?
Typically, indoor air levels of Stachybotrys are low; however, as with other
types of mold, at higher levels health effects can occur. These include allergic
rhinitis (cold-like symptoms), dermatitis (rashes), sinusitis, conjunctivitis,
and aggravation of asthma. Some related symptoms are more general - such
as inability to concentrate and fatigue. Usually, symptoms disappear after
the contamination is removed. There has been some evidence linking Stachybotrys
with pulmonary hemosiderosis in infants who are generally less than six months
old. Pulmonary hemosiderosis is an uncommon condition that results from bleeding
in the lungs. In studied cases of pulmonary hemosiderosis, the exposure to
Stachybotrys came from highly contaminated dwellings, where the infants were
continually exposed over a long period of time.
Will my health or my child’s health be affected,
and should we see a physician?
If you believe that you or your children have symptoms that you suspect are
caused by exposure to mold, you should see a physician. You should tell your
physician about the symptoms and about when, how, and for how long you think
you or your children were exposed.
Student, Faculty & Staff
SERIOUS HEALTH ISSUES MAY ARISE IF YOU ARE EXPOSED TO MOLD.
AWL Industries, Inc., is a NON-UNION company that is using UNLICENSED, UNTRAINED
workers to perform mold remediation. Is the NYS Dormitory Authority and CSI’s
decision to hire a company with no experience and unlicensed workers putting
students and faculty at risk? Is AWL Industries, a company with no experience
in this field, acting in a responsible manner in this school? Should a company
that doesn’t pay its workers a living wage, thus undermining all wage
earners, be awarded CSI’s contract to remove mold? Do you trust AWL Industries?!?!?!?
YOU DESERVE BETTER!
Call Anil Raut at (212) 273-5054 and CSI Vice President John Hudacs at (718)
982-2240 and demand that they hire responsible, unionized contractors to perform
this hazardous work!