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Proviso Probe

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

HEALTH, McKinley School mold health hazard [D88]

Why is it acceptable to send Bellwood children to a building that is harming their health?
Cook County Department of Public Health
(708) 492-2000

February 6, 2006

Mr. Paul Glover
McKinley Elementary School
3317 Butterfield Road
Bellwood, IL 60104

Dear Mr. Glover:

At your request, our Department conducted an environmental assessment at McKinley Elementary School in Bellwood on Wednesday February 1, 2006. The assessment was requested as a result of moisture problems observed throughout the school. Assisting me on the assessment was Mr. Peter Gianakas, Environmental Health Specialist.

During our assessment, we visited classrooms, the gymnasium and the library, as well as, staff offices. At the time of our visit, we observed roofing problems and plumbing leaks that have resulted in significant water damage and visible mold growth on ceiling tiles and walls throughout the building. Buckets were being used to capture water leaking from the ceiling; some of which were located next to students and staff desks. Enclosed are pictures of some of the areas observed during our visit. These pictures were taken in classroom 311, the library, the gymnasium, the hallway and the conference room in the main office.

Because the rooms are carpeted, an odor was also observed in several of the classrooms. To address the odor, teachers open the windows, although in our variable climate, this is not always an option.

Exposure to mold can cause a variety of symptoms. Sensitive people who have touched or inhaled mold or mold spores may have allergic reactions such as a runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, watery eyes, skin rash and itching (dermatitis). Molds can trigger asthma attacks in people who are allergic to molds, causing wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. Healthy individuals, exposed to high levels of mold over a period of time can also become sensitized.

As a result of our visit, the following recommendations are offered:

• A licensed plumber should be consulted to address the plumbing leaks throughout the building.
• A roofing contractor should be consulted to address the standing water on the roof and water leaking from the roof.
• All wet and water damaged building materials, including but not limited to, ceiling tiles, drywall and carpeting, should be removed and replaced.

To ensure the health and safety of the children at McKinley Elementary, our office is available to assist you in addressing the environmental health, as well as, the safety issues, discussed during our visit. Should you require another opinion; the services of an environmental consulting firm can be sought. One can be found listed in the yellow pages under “Environmental”. I also provided Ms. Phyllis Pelt a copy of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) document entitled Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings. This is a guidance document that contains helpful information on mold remediation. It can also be downloaded from the USEPA’s website.


LaTrice Porter-Thomas
Environmental Quality Manager

Why is it acceptable to have a board of education that allows these children to be sent into this environment?

Cook County gets all in a tizzy over secondhand smoke, but accepts sending Bellwood children into an environment that appears more unhealthy than a smoke filled bar. What gives?


  • This is a shame. Why the politicans are fighting and attending stepper sets, they need to address the needs of our children! The parents of district 88 need to file a class action suit against each and every board member. Starting with Marilyn Thurman. She has been on the board since Jesus was a baby. She makes hoeing look bad. It is really hard out here for a pimp!

    By Blogger 209sucks, at 10:56 PM, March 15, 2006  

  • pamela says: I think it's really funny that 18 people replied to the cartoon post, but only 1 person replied to an environmental danger. Don't these poeple care about polluting their kids' lungs? Obviously racism and politics ( as usual) outweigh education in these districts.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:46 AM, March 18, 2006  

  • You are right Pamela. That is one reason why my children cannot and will not attend District 209 and 88

    By Blogger 209sucks, at 8:04 PM, March 21, 2006  

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