In Roswell, NM, parent Paul Taylor III filed a lawsuit to have the local high school building tested thoroughly, after his daughter and other occupants fell ill while attending school there. The school district would not allow it without a court order, even though Mr. Taylor paid for the expensive tests. The verdict is in:
TAYLOR’S EXPERTS EXPOSE MASSIVE TOXIC CONTAMINATION IN GODDARD HIGH SCHOOL
We congratulate Mr. Taylor on the development of a very generous, excellent plan to get the school tested, the establishment of an outstanding parent website that informs the public about the IAQ problems at Goddard High School and what is being done about them, and the utilization of top experts for medical analysis, building inspection, and testing. Mr. Taylor has told us that The Center for School Mold Help website has been invaluable to help him address these problems. He is one of our subscribers. We hope that Goddard High School will be closed immediately and the students relocated. This report shows it is a very dangerous building to occupy. (SMH)
Paul Taylor, III
Roswell, New Mexico
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TAYLOR’S EXPERTS EXPOSE MASSIVE TOXIC CONTAMINATION IN GODDARD HIGH SCHOOL
ROSWELL, NEW MEXICO – SEPTEMBER 22, 2009 – In accordance with an order issued by Judge Thomas Rutledge on May 28, 2009, in the cause of Paul Taylor, III, v. Roswell Independent School District, experts for Taylor conducted a visual inspection and surface sampling of Goddard High School in June of this year. Recently released data from the inspection and sampling revealed, “Goddard High School was found to be [a] heavily water damaged and poor indoor environmental quality indicators associated with sick building syndrome were identified throughout the school.
Recent work at Goddard High School conducted by Roswell Independent School District has not and will not solve the problems associated with poor indoor environmental quality.”
Taylor filed a lawsuit in November of 2008 against Roswell Independent School District, Mike Gottlieb, Superintendent, and Andy Sweet, GHS Principal, asserting that mold contamination made his daughter, Paige, critically ill. He is not suing for money, but for the right to have GHS tested properly. Taylor was willing to pay for the testing himself. The RISD repeatedly denied Taylor’s request for proper testing and rebutted by saying their previous tests were adequate and asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit.
Judge Rutledge denied the RISD”s Motion to Dismiss the lawsuit and allowed Taylor the right to properly inspect the facility. The initial stage of the testing was recently completed, with the expert reports being filed in court, along with a motion to conduct further invasive testing, in accordance with the Judge’s order.
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.
According to Paige Taylor’s treating physician, Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker, who specializes in biotoxin related illnesses, 24% of the population is genetically susceptible to mold illness and will not self-heal.
More simply stated, almost a quarter of the normal population is genetically susceptible to chronic mold illness. Three quarters isn’t. This is not an allergenic or asthma based disease, but one that is genetically based, therefore, it is statistically a public health concern.
Dr. Shoemaker, a graduate of Duke University Medical School, who has over thirty years of experience as a treating physician, and has treated over 5,400 patients with chronic illness acquired following exposure to water-damaged buildings; and more than 7,700 patients with chronic illness acquired following exposure to biologically produced toxins, including those from water-damaged buildings.
Shoemaker stated “[my] review of the sampling of Goddard High School performed by Plaintiff’s experts on June 16th and 17th showed a “massive fungal presence as shown by fungal DNA testing.” DNA evidence of amplified growth Aspergillus fumigatus, Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus penicilloides, Stachybotrys chartarum and Trichoderma viride. Any one of these organisms will make biologically active compounds, including mycotoxins, toxins and inflammagens, and each could be responsible for one or all of the physiologic and neurologic abnormalities seen in Ms. Taylor. Furthermore, temporal association of the rapid changes in biomarkers seen in Ms. Taylor provides the necessary factors to determine that the cause of her illness is due to exposure to indoor air contaminants.”
Dr. Michael Larranaga, Ph.D of Oklahoma State University and consultant for Taylor’s inspection team states, “…the findings and observations described herein have resulted in an indoor environment in which building occupants are exposed to fungi, fungal metabolites, dust, fire safety hazards, and asbestos fibers that present a risk to public safety and health. Based on my education, training, and experience, I would never consider allowing my child to attend this school.”
Dr. Larranaga, a licensed mold assessment consultant, has conducted hundreds of indoor environmental quality and building dynamics assessments and published and lectured on building dynamics, respiratory safety and health related indoor exposure, moisture control, and mold assessment and remediation.
Additional sampling methods developed by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, specifically the Environmental Relative Moldiness Index “ERMI” testing methods, were utilized to measure indications of mold species associated with water damage by DNA marking of the existing dust present throughout the building. The analysis indicates a heavy mold burden throughout the building.
“In GHS, an average of 20.4 mold species associated with water damage out of a possible 26 species total, was found. According to the Environmental Relative Moldiness Index values established by the EPA, samples taken from GHS revealed High Moldiness Risk in 92% of all of the samples, with the remaining 8% falling in the Medium Moldiness Risk category.”
It was noted by William Holder, consultant for Taylor’s inspection team, “…molds were confirmed by qualifying laboratory analysis to be present. Organisms of concern were found in low to high concentrations. The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygenists and the American Industrial Hygenists Association recommend that ‘urgent risk management decisions be made’ when organisms of concern are found indoors.” According to test results, Stachybotrys, or toxic black mold, as well as Aspergillus and Penicillium, were some of the organisms of concern identified in highconcentrations.
Dr. Larranaga’s report also notes that RISD has attempted to make improvements to the conditions within the school. He states, “the work being conducted by the school [district] has not and will not solve the problems associated with mold burden, dust level, asbestos fiber contamination, building
HVAC system performance and degraded condition, and will have a minimal preventative effect on future mold growth inside the school.
“RISD has spent considerable time and monies cleaning, painting, replacing ceiling tiles, and attempting to repair chilled water pipe insulation, galvanized piping, sewers, asbestos containing material, the roof, etc…The HVAC systems, sewer piping, and potable water piping are beyond their useful life and are in need of replacement.”
Taylor’s team of experts also noted “the dust accumulation observed was the worst seen in thousands of school investigations.” “The dust analysis found chrysotile and amphibole asbestos fibers in the surface dust. Asbestos fibers are confirmed carcinogens, or have the ability to cause cancer…there is no safe level of asbestos exposure…”
The EPA Benchmark for asbestos dust is 50,000 structures per square centimeter for infrequently accessed and unoccupied areas of residences (e. g., attics). This Benchmark was set for the clean-up work in New York City following the collapse of the World Trade Towers in 2001. “The dust in the return air pathway for the air-conditioning system [at GHS] contained 101,000 asbestos structures per square centimeter…levels above 100,000 square centimeters are considered high and in
the range of a significant accidental release,” according to the expert report.
The school district continues to publically state the GHS air quality is of no concern as their testing has evealed only allowable amounts of contamination. Taylor’s report flies squarely in the face of that claim.
“After two years, we finally have a true picture of what is going on at Goddard High School,” said Paul Taylor, III. “All we ever wanted was to determine the facts and to use those facts to assist in the diagnosis and treatment of my daughter. Leading experts and scientists from across the nation have identified major causes of urgent concern with indisputable lab results and photos that indicate GHS is not a healthy place for kids.” “The facts speak for themselves,” added Taylor.
Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker, M. D., has developed a specialty of practice in biotoxin associated illnesses. He has published multiple academic papers and articles based on his direct patient care and research, as well as authored original research based on patient care, including five papers on diagnosis, treatment, mechanisms, clinical trials and pathophysiology of the illness acquired following exposure to water damaged buildings. He has presented papers at the request of multiple national and international organizations, as well as the U. S. House of Representatives and the U. S. Senate on illness acquired following exposure to water damaged buildings, in addition to being routinely invited to lecture at academic conferences, medical schools, and governmental agencies.
Dr. Larranaga’s qualifications include a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Industrial Engineering, a Master of Science degree in Environmental Science (industrial hygiene and safety option), and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology (Fire Protection Safety). He is board certified in the comprehensive practice of industrial hygiene (American Board of Industrial Hygiene), safety (Board of Certified Safety Professionals), and Fire and Explosion Investigation (National Association of Fire Investigators). Dr. Larranaga is a registered professional engineer (Texas) and a licensed mold assessment consultant (Texas Department of State Health Services). He is Associate Professor and Department Head of the School of Fire Protection and Safety Engineering Technology and Associate Professor of General Engineering within the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology at Oklahoma State University. Prior to moving into academics as a profession, Dr. Larranaga worked as an industrial hygienist and safety engineer in consulting, at Texas Tech University, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Akzo Nobel Chemicals, and Marathon Oil Company.
H. William Holder currently holds licenses in the state of Texas and practices as a Mold Assessment Consultant, Master Plumber, and HVAC contractor. For additional information and photos please visit http://www.ghsair.org.
Paul Taylor, III Roswell, New Mexico
P.O. Box 344 Roswell, NM 88202-0344