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ABC Special Report
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Organizing your community to bring public attention to builder’s bad deeds and seeking assistance from local, state and federal elected officials has proven to be more effective and much quicker for thousands of families. You do have choices and alternatives.  Janet Ahmad

New York addressing mold issue
Wednesday, 05 December 2007

N.Y. State To Form Mold Task Force
It is a common site yet often dangerous to your health. Mold is suddenly the focus of medical experts.  And now New York state is investigating what can be done to protect the public from its effects...  People are hoping they escaped the plague before it had the opportunity to inflict life-threatening damage. The panel has invited members of the public to speak at each of its meetings.

N.Y. State To Form Mold Task Force
Problems Throughout Tri-State Area Get Spitzer's Attention

NEW YORK (CBS) ― It is a common site yet often dangerous to your health. Mold is suddenly the focus of medical experts. And now New York state is investigating what can be done to protect the public from its effects.

Barbara Skinner is a casualty in the battle against toxic mold. The Harlem resident says she had to move when the fungus spread through her apartment. Now she says it's spreading through another.

"The leaks keep coming, so if the leaks keep coming the mold keeps coming behind the walls," Skinner said.

She's not alone. Last week, an entire housing complex in the Long Island community of Westbury was shut down from a mold infestation. For some, the recent developments did a lot more than provide inconveniences.

"This ruined our first Christmas for her," said Barbara and Manny Delmas.

"And this is confusing because we renewed our lease for a year, and thought we would have the peace of mind of a home. We find out that we have no place to live as of the 31st," Manny added.

The problem has now caught the attention of the state government. A special panel formed by Gov. Eliot Spitzer convened in upstate New York to map strategy on Tuesday.

"All of us have become more aware of the potential health affects from mold, more aware of the problem," said panel co-chair Nancy Kim.

The public health officials who gathered upstate have documented a long list of ailments. They range from depression and asthma to memory loss.

Cheryl Borden went to recount her ordeal. Toxic mold forced her to flee her Long Island home in 2000.

"By the time I went to the doctor, they thought I had PCP -- the pneumonia AIDS patients die from -- and to this day I still have hundreds of spots on my lungs," said Borden.

Dr. Eckhardt Johanning said a recent study found mold to be as harmful to children as cigarette smoke.

"They found that the risk people have to develop new onsets of environmental asthma is similar to the risk you have if your parents smoke," said Johanning.

People are hoping they escaped the plague before it had the opportunity to inflict life-threatening damage.

The panel has invited members of the public to speak at each of its meetings.
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