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Ice dams may be a source of woes for Wisconsin property owners

Gunnar Josefsson and Pam Meuer, a Madison couple, say that the illnesses they have experienced are the direct results of household mold growth. The couple says that those issues are complicated even further because of the skepticism they received when they attempted to get the help they needed.

“You go from doctor to doctor and you’re discounted, even made fun of,” Meuer said. “But the main thing is, you don’t get the help you need… I wanted to get better.”

Josefsson, who is 60, and Meuer, who is 58, claim that they first became ill when they were living in a condominium in Sweden that was found to be contaminated with mold. That was back in 1989. The couple moved to Madison in the early 1990s. When they started to remodel their ranch-style home, which is located on the West Side of the city, so that they can “live without getting sick.”

The couple learned that their Madison house with also contaminated with mold. They were devastated when they learned about the mold in their home.

While the average person is exposed to numerous toxins in their homes, the most controversial and problematic toxin is mold. Dr. Jon Ouellette, a Madison allergist who specializes in mold, says that more people are likely to be confronted with mold growth in their homes because of ice dams. These dams develop on roofs when snow melts and then refreezes. As a result, water from the thawing ice can pour into the interior of a house and down the inside of the walls. It can become so severe that it can cause extensive flooding. The water damage caused by ice dams can lead to another serious problem: mold growth.

Though there have been many stories about people becoming sick and driven out of their homes or workplaces as a result of toxic molds, medical science is stilly attempting to get a hold of definitive research that links mold and health problems.

A state toxicologist performed a survey of scientific literature. Several case studies of individuals who reported similar symptoms, such as chronic headaches, confusion, dizziness, sinus bleeding, and pulmonary problems, after they were exposed to mold-infested buildings were found; however, the link between a cause-and-effect relationship has not been confirmed.

There are studies, however, that show there is a clear connection between asthma and allergic reactions to mold, said a toxicologist with the Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Health, Robert Thiboldeaux, who performed the survey.

Thiboldeaux said, “Building-related illnesses are difficult to diagnose and interpret.” He also said that, “Because the symptoms are nonspecific and often allergy-related, people tend to ignore the problem, or their companies are ignored by others, until the symptoms become chronic.”

Mold Inspection & Testing Milwaukee has performed numerous mold assessments in commercial and residential buildings throughout the city and the surrounding areas. Given the health complications that mold exposure can cause, we strongly urge all property owners to arrange to have regular mold tests performed. To speak with an MI&T representative, call 414.939.5969.