Experts hired by Broward County to test for mold in the Broward County courthouse found "no significant air quality problems due to mold and other contaminants tested," according to Assistant County Administrator Pete Corwin.
The testing looked at specific areas on the 9th floor of the courthouse where Judge Cheryl Aleman, who died of lung cancer despite not being a smoker, worked.
The expert hired by the county recommended cleaning surfaces, insuring there are no water leaks in the area and replacing floor tiles that contain asbestos. The expert also recommends replacing ceiling tiles in the judge's offices, removing wallpaper and painting the walls.
The report is apparently in sharp contrast to a report released earlier this year by attorneys at Krupnick Campbell, who are representing 15 courthouse employees in a lawsuit against the county over the mold issues.
In a story I reported on January 31, attorney Robert McKee told me his expert looked at areas on the 7th, 8th and 9th floors of the building and found "alarming" levels of mold.
"We found abnormal levels of certain molds that are known to present risk to human health," McKee said.
McKee also said at the time that he believes the report shows the mold at levels that could lead to cancer.
"Fungi can not only get into your lungs and bother you if you are allergic to them but they also excrete certain chemicals that are airborne," he explained. "Those are known to present risks to the lungs and the liver, to cells in general such that with enough exposure, enough longevity of that exposure may even present cancer risks."
Another disturbing part of the report, McKee said, is what was found in some of the air vents.
"Bacteria that is normally found in fecal matter that is literally on the air registers," he said. "Meaning that that (HVAC) system has become a repository and then a spreader of whatever has been found in the air over time."
The lawsuit is on hold momentarily while a new judge is assigned the case. McKee plans to ask a judge to shut down part or all of the courthouse due to the problem.
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