Read more about the very sad story of Dan Pauluk, a work-place mold victim, on the first anniversary of his death in July, 2007.
We are very, very sorry, at The Center for School Mold Help, for this family's loss and the suffering and loss that Dan unfairly experienced. This type of situation happens all too often in America's schools, government buildings, workplaces and homes. Without laws to prevent these exposures, more good men and women will become disabled, experience unnecessary and extreme suffering and some will lose their lives (SMH).
Contact 13 Investigation: Mold Inside The Health District
KTNV Las Vegas - Las Vegas,NV*
Posted: July 17, 2008
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Protecting and promoting the health, environment and well-being of
Clark County residents and visitors.
That is the Southern Nevada Health District's mission.
A federal lawsuit says they failed to protect their own employees in
their own building and as a result, a man is dead.
Contact 13 Chief Investigator Darcy Spears exposes why one family
says the Health District's failure to practice what they preach was
This story begins at the end, the end of Dan Pauluk's life.
"It is July 17, 2007, 12 noon and Dan was just pronounced dead,"
explained Dr. Wendy Pauluk.
"I am so angry. It is hard. It is really hard every day," explained
What happened to Dan is hard for most people to comprehend.
He was literally eaten alive from the inside out by toxic mold,
aspergillus and stachybotrys.
He was exposed to it inside the Health District's main building on
Dan's wife Dr. Wendy Pauluk documented Dan's decline.
"This is the paper towel that was wrapped around my leg last night.
My leg is draining and itching and driving me nuts. I cannot sleep
well and my foot is so swollen that you cannot see my ankle bone,"
"I am very exhausted and cannot think well, I do not remember things
and just kind of feel hopeless," said Dan.
"The sores on my side itch like crazy and they are becoming bigger.
I feel like when I close my eyes I stop breathing," said Dan.
The long time health inspector and environmental health specialist
was just 57 - years - old when he died.
According to his death certificate, he died from mixed mold
micotoxicosis, a complicated medical term for mold poisoning.
It was the end of a long battle both he and his doctors fought with
the Health District.
The events leading up to Dan's death are played out in pictures.
They show repeated water leaks over his desk and in the Health
District's main auditorium where parts of the ceiling collapsed.
"But the water leaks never got fixed," explained Dan.
They did spend tons of tax dollars trying to fix the roof, but
employees say it did not work.
A fancy new design has alternating curved and flat sections.
"Basically what that did was it channeled water back into the
existing roof which was never repaired," said Dan.
"I can tell you that every time it rained, the roof leaked and we
had water all over the place and it was not just a drip. It was more
like a waterfall," said Larue Scull, a retired Health District
The Health District would not show Contact 13 the repairs or even
talk about what they have done.
They declined repeated requests to comment on anything for this
story because of the Pauluk family's ongoing lawsuit.
In paperwork year after year dating back to 1998, the Health
District's own studies show the presence of mold in the building and
the need for remediation.
"There is no allowable limit," explained Linda May, an EPA and OSHA
certified mild expert.
Linda May is an OSHA and EPA accredited expert on toxic mold.
"The regulations state that you will vacate the building, remove all
occupants and then relocate them to another building and that no one
will go back in that building without a full respirator and a moon
suit and it will be cleaned up according to EPA standards," said
That did not happen.
Although the Health District may shut down entire businesses where
they find mold, they would not move one man out of their own
"Their conduct is egregious in terms of their just conscious
disregard, conscious indifference to the health and safety of other
people over a period of years. This was not just one exposure," said
Cliff Mareck, the Pauluk family attorney.
Internal health district e-mails show Dan's continued struggle to
move away from the mold.
In 2004, his supervisor asked that he be relocated away from the
building until the concerns regarding mold are addressed.
Dan was not moved.
Nine months later an e-mail between supervisors notes another roof
leak with water damage over Dan's desk, making it an unpleasant and
unhealthful place to work.
Dan was not moved.
His doctor sent letters stressing the importance of moving him from
the building, saying his illness "is a natural conclusion of his
exposure to the toxic mold found present at his workplace."
Dan still was not moved.
"I am mad. I am mad as hell. The Health District ruined my life!
They ruined my family's life," said Dan.
The Health District knew Dan was not the only one suffering.
"It was a sick building. Many of the employees felt that it was
unhealthy to work at the Health Department," said Larue Scull.
The Health District recently failed in its effort to get the
Pauluk's federal lawsuit thrown out of court.
One question that will be raised as that case proceeds is why Dan
did not just quit his job. (emphasis by SMH)
There are three reasons, according to his family.
One, because he needed the health insurance, two because his
superiors told him he could not pursue a workers comp claim if he
left and three because doctors did not tie his illness directly to
the building until shortly before he became permanently disabled.
Thursday was the one year anniversary of Dan's death.
Family, friends and former Health District employees marked his
memory in multiple ways.
Thursday morning they marched in front of the Health District and
they held a candlelight vigil to ensure no one would forget what Dan
went through and why.
Tune into Action News Live @ 11 Friday for part two of this Contact
Contact 13 will expose how the mold that made Dan sick also sickened
others outside the Health District's walls.
Stay tuned to Action News as we monitor developing news around the
To read an extensive, previous article, with photographs of Dan, click here.