Stachybotrys charatrum, toxic black mold, has been found growing in the Grant Sawyer Office building, the largest state-owned office building in Southern Nevada. The five-story building houses 700 employees and is the site of public meetings that thousands attend.
According to state officials, at least 10 employees who work in the building have filed workers’ compensation claims, citing respiratory problems and other symptoms related to mold exposure. A report issued by an internal medical specialist stated that there were traces of mold throughout the building.
Though state offices that are responsible for maintaining the building say that they are working on a solution to resolve the problem, some of the top elected officials of the state of Nevada and a law enforcement union representative claim that the state has not made enough effort to stop the problem. Reports of issues with the building’s heating and air conditioning system have been filed.
At a Nevada Board of Examiners meeting, Attorney General Adam Laxalt stated that the mold growth in the building has forced at least a part of the employees who work in the building to a different location. Laxalt is urging officials with Nevada’s Department of Administration and Public Works to realize the severity of the problem and make it a top-priority.
“We have real employees that absolutely have physical manifestations of whatever is going on in the building,” Attorney General Laxalt said. “As you write your own report, I hope you take into account, because obviously the doctor’s report is not necessarily digestible,” he stated. Laxalt continued to add, “It will be interpreted as there really isn’t much going on and a few minor fixes and everyone will be okay. I don’t think that’s the tone you guys want to send.”
Patrick Cates, the Nevada Department of Administration Director, told the Board of Examiners that Dr. James Craner issued a report that stated that the mold spores may be moving through the building by way of the ventilation system.
Cates said that though it has not been confirmed that the building is contaminated with mold, he believes that the cause of the problem was leaky HVAC system pipes that run through the roof of the building. That leaking, he said, would lead to low levels of fungus, and that the spores would be spread throughout the building through the ventilation system.
According to Cates, the HVAC unit will be replaced. Once it is, the building would be thoroughly remediated. It’s estimated that it will cost between $70,000 and $90,000 to clean the building.
This isn’t the first time that the building has been plagued with mold growth. In the 1990s, at least 25 employees who worked in the building were stricken with mold-related illnesses.
Mold Inspection & Testing Las Vegas has performed numerous mold assessments in state-owned buildings throughout the state of Nevada. We strongly urge the government to arrange for formal mold testing to confirm the presences of mold in the building. To speak with an MI&T representative, call 702.800.0155.