SAUGUS — Toxicologists and state health officials ripped up carpets and tore apart walls Wednesday in a Saugus portable classroom looking for potential toxins that may have caused illnesses in several children and teachers.
Officials testing Room 30 at Charles Helmers Elementary School collected numerous samples to determine the levels and types of molds present in the classroom, particularly stachybotrys, a black gelatinous mold that Dr. Gary Ordog, a Santa Clarita toxicologist, contends caused the illnesses.
Jed Waldman, head of the Indoor Air Quality Section of the state Department of Health Services, said one set of tests would compare culture samples taken from the air inside the portable to that outside. Other tests, which involved using tape to collect samples of materials beneath carpet and inside walls, will be studied for dead mold spores.
Health officials say stachybotrys becomes toxic only when it dries up and circulates into the air. "If mold has grown, it will have dried by now but would have left its vegetative body," Waldman said.