Two St. James Elementary students test positive for mold toxins; according to parents


MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW)- According to their parents, two students at St. James Elementary School tested positive for mold toxins. Parents said it’s the same mold type that was found in classrooms following air quality test earlier this year.

Meredith Smith’s daughter is in first grade at St. James Elementary. She said the test results were not what she’d hoped, and now her daughter won’t be coming back to St. James next year.

“I’m not willing to roll the dice on my child’s health. She will not be in the building. She would need to be here an additional three years and that’s not ok with me,” said Smith.

Smith said despite having some upper respiratory infections this year, a doctor deemed her seven year old healthy. However, Smith said she knew her daughter was in a classroom affected by mold earlier this year. She went to Holistic Family Wellness in Conway, and a urine test was conducted by the Great Plains Laboratory. The results show that mycotoxins of Aspergillus and Penicillium were found in her daughter’s body. That mold type was found in air quality testing of the school earlier this year.

“The stuff that’ in my child’s system is carcinogenic, and immune suppressant, it can cause brain shrinkage, it can cause kidney problems and all this stuff can happen later on in life,” said Smith.

Test results said, “exposure is done primarily through water-damaged buildings.” Smith said both families had their home independently tested, and said the mold types on her daughter’s lab report are not in her home.

Smith shared those results the school board at last night’s meeting. The district said St. James elementary school is scheduled to get a new roof, but Smith said she wants the problem fixed.

“It’s a great step in the right direction, but they need to test it effectively, surface swab it, clean it effectively and maintain proper heating and cooling practices,” said Smith.

Lisa Bourcier with Horry County schools said in a statement, “The district is committed to providing all students and staff with a safe learning environment.”

She said they are also finalizing the process to select an environmental consultant. 

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