Risk Management will investigate grad housing mold
Every Christopher City apartment will soon be inspected after toxic mold was detected in the apartment of a former resident, UA Risk Management officials said yesterday.
Toxic mold, called Stachybotrys chartarum, was found on a portion of carpeting in Kathy Skiles' former apartment at the University of Arizona's family housing complex, 3401 N. Columbus Blvd.
Julia Rosen, a health and safety officer for Risk Management, finished a report last week about the mold at Christopher City.
The mold was also found in a vacant apartment where Skiles said she almost moved after an odor in her original apartment bothered her eyes and created other health problems.
UA Risk Management Director Steve Holland said Stachybotrys chartarum is not expected to be found in other Christopher City apartments or any university buildings.
"I certainly don't think we have a widespread problem with that type of mold," Holland said.
He added that Stachybotrys chartarum has been associated with health problems such as bleeding lungs in infants.
However, other types of mold will probably be found in a "fairly significant number" of apartments, he said.
But the mold will only cause health problems if it is found in great quantities, Holland said.
"We don't want to send the message to folks in Christopher City this is the only type of mold you need to worry about," said Holland, adding that his office is worried about all molds.
The inspection will aim to rid all mold from Christopher City apartments, Rosen said.
"The focus though is to remove all the mold because they can cause problems," she said.
Rosen said the toxic mold in Skiles' apartment was able to grow because the carpeting was made of cellulose, which allowed the mold to form when water dripped onto the surface.
Holland said he is unsure yet when the inspection will begin because his office may not be able to dedicate the staff. If not, a consulting firm may be necessary for the job.
He said the rest of the UA campus may be underserved if Risk Management's two staffers who are qualified to conduct the inspection are used. A decision about who will conduct the inspection will probably be made by today, Holland said.
Risk Management conducted a smaller sampling about two months ago when it inspected 10 apartments to find out if they also contained Stachybotrys chartarum.
"It was the specific carpet finding that led me to more inspections," Rosen said.
Three apartments were inspected because residents complained of allergy symptoms, Rosen said. She said she is finishing reports about two of those apartments.
Toxic mold was not found in any of the 10 apartments, she said.
Martha Castleberry, Christopher City community services manager, said some residents are worried about the discovery of toxic mold.
"I think residents are concerned and are looking forward to getting more information about it," Castleberry said.
Pamela Obando, Residence Life associate director, said an informational meeting with Christopher City residents and Risk Management officials is tentatively planned for March 1 at 7 p.m.
"We're working with Risk Management and hoping to resolve any concerns people have," Obando said.
A letter notifying residents of the situation and the resulting investigation was sent yesterday by Castleberry and Rosen. It included a fact sheet about mold, Obando said.
Jim Van Arsdel, director of Residence Life, could not be reached for comment yesterday because he is out of town until early March.