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This article about two state correction’s officers who were exposed to toxic mold at the county jail in Sante Fe, New Mexico, portrays sante fe jail moldexactly what happens when you expose mold in a work environment and especially in a government building.

Simply said, “Open your mouth about the mold, and you will be the target for retaliation by your superiors that may include a demotion, work torture and/or losing your job.” In this case the correction’s officers were told, “shut up” or quit and reassigned them to booking duties.

The other appalling thing I noticed in this article was how the contractors that were hired by the prison had cleaned up the mold by simply grinding it away, and applying a material known as polyurea to the showers. The lawsuit says, “with crews grinding away surfaces covered with both mold and the chemical used to treat it, the lawsuit says, sending hazardous dust particles into the air.”

Please keep in mind that the construction crews wore protective gear, and jail staff were issued measly paper masks…

The Sante Fe New Mexican reports:

Two Santa Fe County corrections officers say they were sickened by exposure to toxic dust blown around the county jail during a three-month project to remove mold from cell block showers.

The whistleblower complaint against the county, filed last week in the First Judicial District Court, comes as inmates pursue a class action lawsuit claiming they, too, suffered injuries during Santa Fe County jail remediation work in 2014.

The new lawsuit claims the two officers, Matthew De Lora and Michael Lepic, quickly developed symptoms from exposure, including eye conditions and respiratory problems. Jail administrators then retaliated against them for raising concerns about the dust’s health effects by reassigning them to what the lawsuit describes as the jail’s most grueling and unwelcome job — working in booking.

Efforts to eliminate the mold began with a contractor, Industrial Commercial Coatings, applying a material known as polyurea to the showers, the lawsuit says. But according to the complaint, the material peeled, and the mold reappeared.

The contractor undertook remediation measures again in April and May 2014, with crews grinding away surfaces covered with both mold and the chemical used to treat it, the lawsuit says, sending hazardous dust particles into the air.

The air in cell blocks was sometimes thick with dust, the lawsuit says.

The contractor’s crews wore protective gear, and jail staff were issued paper masks, according to the lawsuit.

Read more from The Sante Fe New Mexican