Toxic Mold in the Jackson County Courthouse

Toxic Mold in the Jackson County Courthouse
By: Wendy Ray

MURPHYSBORO, IL --It can creep up on you without you even knowing it's there, i

t's called toxic mold,
and it's all over the basement of the Jackson County Courthouse in Murphysboro.
The problem is there are five people working in the basement of the courthouse, right in the middle of all that mold. It goes by a few names, including stachybotrys, black mold, and toxic mold.

"It's where it affects the quality of work, quality of life," Jackson County Clerk Larry Reinhardt says. It's hard to imagine that something so small and hard to find can be causing such a big problem, but the toxic mold found in the Jackson County Courthouse is doing just that.  It's all over the basement; on the ceiling tiles, in old record books, and in the air.  Reinhardt says it's affecting the employees who work down in the basement. "A majority of the employees who do or have worked down there have been required to take allergy medications or have taken allergy medications. We have seen that when the employees are moved from there, there is no longer a problem," he says.

The mold can cause a lot of health problems because it produces toxic chemicals called mycotoxins. The toxins are released into the air on mold spores and that is what the workers could be breathing in. You may have mild symptoms like nasal stiffness, eye irritation, or wheezing, to severe reactions like fever or shortness of breath. The county election office is in the basement, five people work there and some of them have already chosen to start working upstairs. Reinhardt is well aware the problem needs to be taken care of. "We will have to eradicate all of it," he says.