Two St. James Elementary students test positive for mold-borne toxins, parents say

Updated: May. 22, 2019 at 5:52 AM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The fight against mold at St. James Elementary School continues, even months after testing cleared the school of amplified mold levels.

Some parents are going as far as getting their children tested to see what they’ve been exposed to, and if it’s in their bodies.

Parents said at least two children who have been tested showed up with the same toxins in their body that were found in the school.

Tests from The Great Plans Laboratory revealed mycotoxins present in Meredith Smith’s daughter’s body. It’s the same species which was tested positive for in St. James Elementary School.

“My daughter has been in one of the classrooms that I know has been affected and there’s been very little communication from the district about this," Smith said.

Smith said she’s touring new schools for her daughter next year because she doesn’t want to send her back to St. James Elementary School.

“I’ve been taking some tours of other schools and all I can say with 100% certainty is I’m not willing to roll the dice with my child’s health. She would need to be here another three additional years and that’s not OK with me," said Smith.

A spokesperson with the school district provided this comment to WMBF News:

“The District is committed to providing all students and staff with a safe learning environment.”

Dr. Natasha Thomas, who studies internal medicine, said the sensitivity someone has to mycotoxins depends on their genetic makeup.

“Mycotoxins, along with other things found in contaminated air for water damaged building, can lead to immunological disease, so long term consequences for some individuals are disastrous," said Thomas.

Thomas said symptoms can vary. Some people may not be effected by mycotoxins, others may experience joint pain, fatigue, or gastrointestinal issues.

“We just know that mycotoxins have the ability to cause defect in certain cells leading to cancer," said Thomas.

However, Thomas said research and the study of mycotoxins is ongoing. She said the way to re-mediate exposure to mycotoxins is to elimate exposure altogether. That’s something Smith said she plans on doing.

“This is not a change I want to make, but a change I’m being forced to make because the health of the building is not good," said Smith.

Another parent whose child has been sick had testing done as well.

Smith said she also had her home tested which did not reveal the same kind of mycotoxins that were found in her daughter’s body.

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