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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 the gym.

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 flooding.

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 BEWARE!
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!



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