Six administrative workers employed by the University of Colorado in Boulder (CU) have come down with a mystery illness that they believe was caused by mold contamination in the engineering building where they work. Their claims spurred an investigation of potentially harmful work conditions at the university that is currently underway, but more can be done to help the university’s workers.
A spokesperson for CU said university specialists are investigating the building, but so far, they found no signs that mold contamination is present. The university had the employees’ offices deep-cleaned and ran an air purifier for two days. The university also sent the employees to doctors to see if a common symptom exists that might help experts determine the cause of the illness.
However, some people think the university has not taken the employees’ illnesses seriously enough. The university approved funding for safety testing in the engineering building by an outside consultant, but they failed to hire the consultant yet, claiming the delay is to determine what type of tests to perform.
Employees recently asked one of CU’s specialists when testing would begin, and they were told it would occur when the university got “around to it.” One of the employees involved was warned by the university not to speak to the press but felt the university lacks concern for the employees’ illnesses.
The spokesperson for CU denied that the university is unconcerned about the illnesses and points out that a top department official has already sought assistance with the matter from the university’s Department of Environmental Health and Safety.
If it can be proven that the engineering building is in fact infected with mold that caused the employees’ illnesses, the affected employees may be entitled to receive workers’ compensation.