Students report illness due to mold in dorms
December 9, 2008 1:55 PM
Four documented cases of mold growth have been spotted this semester within university housing and at least two SF State residents say it’s making them sick.
“I would wake up with shortness of breath and swollen eyes and lips,” said Ashlee Workman, a freshman living in the Towers at Centennial Square.
Philippe Cumia, associate director of University Housing, said there was one report of mold growth in the Towers, one in Mary Park Hall and two in Mary Ward Hall.
“We take these incidents very seriously,” Cumia said in an e-mail. “To date, all four concerns brought to our attention have yielded findings of common household mold only and were remediated immediately.”
Because on-campus housing lies close to the Pacific Ocean, Cumia said mold is a common problem at SF State and in the Bay Area in general. San Francisco’s temperate climate and foggy surrounding serve as a breeding ground for mold and the high pollen and particulate counts affect a lot of students who are from outside the Bay Area.
“We recommend students suffering allergies see their primary care physicians or SF State Student Health Services to obtain appropriate treatment to ease their symptoms,” he said.
Workman said she went to the campus health center, but the allergy medication she was given didn’t stop her symptoms.
“I really need to move out of the towers,” Workman said. “I constantly feel sick and tired—I know it’s because of the mold.”
Workman said she received a note from the health center allowing her to move out of the Towers, but said campus housing hasn’t complied yet.
“If students are having different allergic reactions to mold they need to come in and be seen,” said Brenda Hyde, clinic manager for SF State’s health center. “If necessary we could send them to an outside referral so their symptoms can be better assessed.”
While Hyde said the health center has not received significant complaints about mold-related illness, concerned students should do all in their power to combat the mold.
“If there are complaints, they should be submitted to the San Francisco Public Health Department,” Hyde said. “This could potentially be an environmental health hazard.”
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