Conservation DistList Archives [Date] [Subject] [Author] [SEARCH]

Subject: Mold liability

Mold liability

From: Karen Motylewski <nedcc>
Date: Tuesday, June 7, 1994
The May 1994 issue of ACTS FACTS 8(5) (Arts, Crafts, and Theater Safety,
181 Thompson Street, #23, New York, NY 10012, 212-777-0062) has a number
of useful articles for conservators.  Most disconcerting is the lead
one, on a c. $400,000,000 suit by staff and former staff against the New
Museum of Contemporary Art, charging the museum with responsibility for
disabilities caused by the growth of toxic mold (identified as
Stachybotrys atra) in the sub-basement of the museum's exhibit space.
If the plaintiffs win, the museum's board will apparently be held liable
for any awards the museum itself can't pay.  ACTS FACTS goes on to say
that all board members of non-profit corporations like museums (and
presumably libraries and archives, regional centers, etc.) are similarly
liable if poor sanitation, mold, air pollutants, or inadequate
ventilation expose the institution, staff, or public to health damage.

ACTS FACTS 8(5) also includes a daunting list of diseases caused in
humans by fungi, bacteria, parasites, and other biological sources found
in soil, molds, scat, insect bites and refuse.  Many of them are listed
as difficult to treat or responsible for significant fatalities.  It is
critical to protect yourself with appropriate respirators and other
cover-ups when working with suspect objects.  See Lois Price's new
handout for CCAHA ($3.00, CCAHA, 215-545-0613) for a good summary of
cautionary practices and NEDCC's new handout on mold (free, NEDCC) for a
good summary of preventive strategies.

Karen Motylewski
Director, Field Service
Northeast Document Conservation Center
100 Brickstone Square
Andover, MA 01810

                   Conservation DistList Instance 8:1
                   Distributed: Monday, June 13, 1994
                        Message Id: cdl-8-1-003
Received on Tuesday, 7 June, 1994

[Search all CoOL documents]