Native Village Youth and Education News

March 1, 2009 Issue 195 Volume 2


Study links household mold
s to aboriginal health, learning woes.

By Lindsay Kines and Judith Lavoie
Condensed by Gina Boltz, Director, Native Village Publications

British Columbia: First Nations people now have scientific proof that their homes are making them sick: Researchers at the University of B.C have found a direct link between mold
-infested homes in one First Nation community and an increase in health problems for the families living in them.

Karen Bartlett from UBC said the mold is worse on infants and the elderly who have developing or weakened immune systems and spend the most time at home. For infants, early exposure may lead to long-term allergies or asthma.

"People look at asthma and they say, 'Well, who cares about asthma? It's not cancer.' " Bartlett said. "Well, that's the wrong way of thinking, because in fact people can die of asthma. And once you have it, you have it for your entire life. It is a significant problem."

The effects of moldy housing on aboriginal children is particularly troubling to Tang Lee from the University of Calgary. Lee has spent 30 years assessing health risks in aboriginal homes. He despairs at the number of children he has seen lying around their homes in a brainfog caused by mold.

"These kids are so sick they can't learn," he said. "They can't concentrate because the microtoxins in the mold make them sick. They fall asleep in school as if they are intoxicated."

But despite Lee's reports to the First Nations bands that hire him and endless phone calls to government officials, little is done..

"They thank me, but don't take any action," Lee said. "It has got to the point I don't want to do it anymore."


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