Mold and Fungus Found in Atlanta Center

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At Atlanta's Air Route Traffic Control Center, the busiest air traffic control facility in the country, officials have confirmed that various kinds of fungus and mold have been found growing in the building. About half of the 300 staffers have complained of headaches and recurring sinus infections. A fungus called Scopulariopsis has been found in the control room, under the floor, and in ductwork, and spores are being dispersed through the air. "The FAA is trying to minimize the damages and rush a cleanup," said Calvin Phillips, the facility's representative to the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. "We are deeply troubled to learn that we are basically surrounded by this highly toxic fungus. For several years, we have been complaining of health issues and have long suspected that our sick building was to blame."

A contractor that had been cleaning air ducts at the center told all of its workers to leave the building. "We were never given any warning that the possibility of mold and fungus could be present," said Richard Denney, of Peachtree Mechanical Inc. "We have not been notified of the ongoing issues at the FAA by anyone." FAA officials told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that they have taken steps to control the fungus and are now working on a long-term clean-up plan. "We would not put our employees' health at risk," regional FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen told the newspaper. "It is an issue, but we think we've resolved it from an interim standpoint."