July 28, 2011

School settles mold case with builder

Read here about a Wisconsin school that settled a mold case with a builder.…

July 27, 2011

‘Common’ Mold Discovered in Two Duke Residence Halls

Source:, August 31, 2006

A Duke official said the mold does not present any serious health risks to students

Duke University officials have discovered a common form of mold in two residence halls on West Campus and will begin treating it next week.

A Duke official said the mold does not present any serious health risks to students.

“These molds are considered allergens and could cause allergic reactions in some people,” said Eddie Hull, dean of residence life and executive director of housing services. “But the ‘black mold’ that we hear about as a real problem is not present.”

Hull sent an email this week to students in Mitchell and Decker towers, in the Edens Quadrangle, informing them that a common form of mold had been found in a number of locations, including some student rooms, common areas and a mechanical room where air handlers push cool air to rooms.

Hull said Duke’s Occupational and Environmental Safety Office (OESO) was contacted immediately, and OESO inspectors collected air and surface samples inside and outside the two buildings. The test results determined that the mold inside the buildings “is well within generally accepted standards of care,” Hull’s email noted.…

June 21, 2011

Toxic Mold Discovered Inside Area Elementary School

Source:, November 26, 2007

A concerned parent called NewsChannel 11 thinking mold might be growing inside her daughter’s school. She told us school administrators were not letting parents know what was really going on. We went looking for answers.

Five days a week, 180 school children as young as four-years-old come to Lorenzo Elementary to get an education. The Texas Education Agency rates this school as “Academically Acceptable.” But if this school was graded on appearance, parent Amy Cisneros, would give it a failing grade. “Just look at the pictures. That says it all right there. It’s a nasty room,” said Amy.

NewsChannel 11 was able to get a hold of pictures taken of classroom 15. This is what it looked like before the wood paneling was stripped off the wall. It appears nothing is wrong with it. According to school officials, this room was used for in-school suspension students, or ISS. Nearby, a classroom for special education students; the only thing separating the two rooms is this bathroom.…

June 15, 2011

Possible Mold Infestation Closes Langdon, N.H., School

Source:, February 26, 2006
By: Josh Adams, Eagle Times, Claremont, N.H.

Concerns over a possible mold infestation at the Sarah Porter School in Langdon have prompted the school district to close the building for at least a portion of next week.

SAU 60 Superintendent Joe Della Badia confirmed Thursday that students will attend classes at the Vilas Middle School in Alstead for at least three days when they return from winter break on Monday. Tests for mold and other contaminants were done Wednesday, Della Badia said, and the results will not be known until Friday or Monday.

The decision to close the building is a precautionary measure, Della Badia said.

“At this point we don’t know whether there’s mold or any airborne contaminants at all,” Della Badia said.

Destry Bardis is the parent of a second-grader at the school who contacted district administrators about a possible mold problem. Bardis said Thursday she became concerned when her daughter complained of headaches, stomach aches and skin rashes that seemed to occur only while in the school.…

April 27, 2011

Los Angeles School District Sues Insurer Over Waste Terms

Source:, April 17, 2006
By: Tony Illia

The Los Angeles Unified School District is locked in a high-stakes legal battle with its insurer, American International Group, over a $100-million policy it bought to cover rising cleanup costs at school construction sites found to be contaminated with toxic substances. The lawsuit, filed in L.A. County Superior Court on Feb. 28, accuses AIG, New York City, of reneging on a 1999 pact to cover for 20 years much of its environmental cleanup cost—an expense district officials admit could reach policy limits.

District officials bought the $7.5-million policy in the wake of problems surrounding Belmont Learning Complex, an $87-million high school to be built on a site later found to contain methane and chemicals. The incomplete structure was abandoned in January 2000. State lawmakers then adopted a law to require review of new potential properties by the state Dept. of Toxic Substances. The Belmont fiasco led to a host of lawsuits and investigations that will ultimately cost the district millions of dollars to remedy.…

April 20, 2011

Ironshore Environmental Enhances Pollution Program for Education Sector

Source: Insurance Journal, April 20, 2011

Ironshore Inc.’s Environmental Insurance unit has enhanced its asset-class specific Site Pollution Incident Legal Liability Select (SPILLS) suite of products to address risk exposures within the education sector, including public and private K-12 schools, colleges, universities and other educational facilities.  Ironshore’s SPILLS EDU program provides coverages for a range of environmental pollutants, including mold, legionella, drinking water contaminants and PCB containing materials, among others.

The SPILLS EDU program provides environmental liability coverages without the need to schedule specific school properties.  Coverage is provided for first and third party on-site and off-site remediation expenses, claims for bodily injury and property damage, including natural resource damages, transportation, waste disposal activities and business interruption (without a sublimit) for pre-existing and new conditions.

SPILLS EDU policy limits are available from $1 to $30 million.

March 22, 2011

Pesticide cleanup costs school district over $850K

Read here about an Arizona school district that had to pay over $850K to cleanup pesticide.…

February 17, 2011

HAZMAT team called to clean up chemical spill at SHSU

Source: The Huntsville Item (TX), February 15, 2011
By: Matthew Jackson

Sam Houston State University officials evacuated the campus’ Chemistry and Forensic Science building for more than three hours Tuesday morning after a teacher’s assistant spilled a small amount of bromine in a laboratory.

The spill occurred just before 8 a.m. and required a Walker County HAZMAT team to ventilate the area and clean up the five milliliter spill. No one was injured, but precautions were taken due to bromine’s high toxicity.

“Bromine is a dangerous toxic chemical. It’s chemically similar to chlorine,” said Dr. Rick Norman, chair of the SHSU Department of Chemistry. “If the level is too high, you will die, just like if you breathe chlorine gas for too long. Lesser effects are lung irritation or eye irritation, probably skin irritation.”

Norman said bromine is not commonly used in SHSU laboratories, but a small vial was being used by a teaching assistant during a brief demonstration Tuesday morning. The vial was tipped onto the floor and shattered, causing the spill. The teaching assistant contacted the building’s safety and inventory supervisor, who contacted university public safety officials.

The building was cleared and reopened shortly before 11:30 a.m.…

December 10, 2010

Augusta Schools Face Big Bill for Mold Removal

Publication Date 10/13/2010
Source: Leader-Telegram (Eau Claire, WI)

The Augusta school district might be forced to pay for the estimated $415,000 cleanup of its elementary school after the district’s insurance company rejected a claim seeking payment for mold removal that closed the building for the start of this school year.

“It’s kind of disheartening,” Augusta schools Superintendent Bill Perry said. “We had to get it cleaned. You let it go for a couple days, and you have a disaster.”

District officials will continue to try to persuade its insurance carrier, EMC Insurance of Des Moines, Iowa, to pay the bill.…

September 29, 2010

Colleges Investing in Cheap Land During Economic Downturn

With the economy in a downturn and real estate prices down, many colleges are taking advantage by purchasing cheap land for expansion. University of Dayton in Ohio, University of Delaware, and Columbia University are just some examples. Colleges realize that investing in real estate may be risky but some say “the benefits outweigh the risks.” (Source:

From an insurance perspective, universities need to know what it is that they are buying. As the new owner, they are likely inheriting potential legacy environmental liabilities. This is especially true if the sites being purchased were historically industrial properties. Pollution coverages could limit these potential risks and liabilities by protecting the owners from future claims related to any discovery of legacy environmental exposures.…