8 cadets sickened after mold found at US Coast Guard Academy

Posted at 11:30 AM, Sep 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-24 11:30:10-04

NEW LONDON, Conn. (WFSB) — Mold is something cadets at the US Coast Guard didn’t know they would be dealing with this semester, but they are.

Now a special “mold action team” is helping to rid some older dorms of the problem.

Parents and cadets were briefed on Friday afternoon with specialists on hand to answer all their questions and how to deal with mold going forward.

Since September 18th, eight US Coast Guard cadets visited the campus clinic complaining they had illness they felt was related to mold.

In a letter to cadets and parents, the Coast Guard Academy confirms mold was cleared from Chase Hall at the end of the summer, but it returned recently to the annexes.

The letter states in part, “While we have been unable to pinpoint the exact source of the mold to prevent it from happening going forward, we have noticed that it tends to occur on A/C vents and on areas downwind of the A/C register, and cadets have reported that the air coming from the vent feels moist.”

A mold action team coordinated mold cleaning by cadets and engineers from walls, furniture and other surfaces.

The letter continued, saying, “…The high temps through the next two weeks will be going down into the upper 60s, we have made the decision to shut down A/C in the a and b annex today, a couple weeks earlier than normal. “

The academy says the mold concentration appears to be in “B” annex built in 1961 with air conditioning installed some five years ago, and the system lacks humidity control, which, combined with summer humidity, resulted in mold.

The letter continued, saying, “While the cadets in the B annex have done a good job maintaining A/C boundaries, we are now telling them to do the opposite – to open their windows and corridor doors. We are also allowing them to leave locker doors open to prevent mold on uniforms. We are also allowing use of fans and HEPA filters as long as they are UL-listed.”

The academy says the medical staff is checking on the eight cadets who came down with mold-like illnesses and allowing them to file claims for costs incurred.