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HUBBARD Police station's mold problem spurs action



Published: Tue, August 27, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The city has contracted for further tests, and workers with symptoms are advised to see their doctors.

By TIM YOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

HUBBARD -- Eight types of mold, including one that is potentially fatal, have been identified inside city police headquarters.

"You do have a problem in your building," Frank J. Migliozzi, director of environmental health for the Trumbull County Health Department, told city officials and police Monday.

The health department took samples of mold earlier this month, and an analysis was done by P & amp;K Microbiology Services Inc. of Cherry Hills, N.J. P & amp;K's report was released Monday.

Migliozzi said all of the molds can cause allergic or asthmatic symptoms.

One of the molds, aspergillus, contains microtoxins and can cause death, depending on the amount inhaled, Migliozzi said.

Taking action

Based on Migliozzi's recommendations, Mayor George Praznik ordered those who work in the building, which was constructed in 1870, and have health problems to visit their physicians.

He also said the basement of the two-story building will be sealed from the rest of the building.

In addition, the city will contract with Environmental Quality Management Inc. of Cincinnati to determine, among other things, the amount of mold spores in the building.

The company will begin its work, which will cost no more than $3,400, Sept. 13, said acting Police Chief Kenneth Oyler, noting the results will be received in about three weeks.

Councilman Richard Keenan, D-4th, chairman of city council's safety committee, said all members of council have informally agreed to tap into the capital improvements fund to hire Environmental Quality.

Migliozzi said the health department will also interview workers to document whether they have experienced health problems.

Complaints

Dennis DeVine, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, said workers in the building have complained of symptoms such as fatigue, headaches and runny noses.

Migliozzi explained that even if the mold is cleaned, it can return within 72 hours because of moisture. Its removal, he noted, could include removing plaster.

Noting that the health department has the authority to condemn the building, Migliozzi said he doesn't know the immediate danger to workers, but it has a "definite potential" of being a health hazard.

He advised the city to move employees who have the symptoms out of the headquarters if their tasks can be done elsewhere.

For example, Keenan suggested, dispatching might be done from the Hubbard Township Police Department.

The city administration and council have long discussed remodeling the building, buying a building or constructing a new headquarters.

"Now, we've got to get off the pot," Praznik said. "It's not going to get any better; it's only going to get worse."

"My No. 1 concern is their health. Whatever it takes, we've got to do it," the mayor said of the health issue facing the city.

Keenan made his position clear before the meeting: "We'll spend whatever it takes. You can't take chances with people's health."

yovich@vindy.com




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