The heartless mistreatment and discrimination of those severely injured by environmental exposures in this country has got to be made to stop. On the night of August 16, 2015, a young boy of seventeen took his own life out of desperation and despair. His name is Jared Dussault. In the fall of 2014, he, his mother and two younger siblings were injured by molds in their apartment in the La Costa complex in Naples, Florida. They could find no one to help them regain their lives.
According to Jared’s mother, Kelli Kellum Dussault, they had mold in air conditioning ducts of their apartment. The remediation to remove the mold was improperly done in mid-September by a maintenance man of the complex. On October 2, 2014, a “professional” remediation company was hired to clean the ducts. They did not set up proper containment while causing mold to be blown into the air of the apartment and all over the Dussaults’ possessions.
This caused the Dussault apartment to become uninhabitable for the family. They began experiencing severe breathing difficulties almost immediately. Prior to any remediation work being done, La Costa complex managers were made aware that Jared’s little brother, Tyler, had severe allergies to the mold, aspergillus, requiring added precaution when remediating for his safety.
According to documentation found in the power-point, after the living conditions were made worse — not better — by the unprofessional work of Simpson Environmental Services, consultants from Environ were then brought in to the matter to promote the concept that the mold in the apartment and the botched remediations had not injured the family.
In January of 2015, after their world had been turned upside down by well documented negligence, incompetence and misstatements of fact; the Dussault family was basically thrown out on the street with no help to pay for their living expenses or mounting medical bills. They were evicted by La Costa’s management under the pretence that their consultant’s act of opening the wall to find painted over mold, violated their lease.
According to Dussault, other occupants of La Costa had also complained of mold problems in their units causing ill health. The local code enforcement agency closed the case on Dussault’s complaint without issuing a single charge for the multiple violations cited in the complaint.
When seeking help for their illnesses, the Dussaults were referred from doctor to doctor with little to no relief of their symptoms. Like so many mothers before her, Dussault then spent thousands of dollars to travel thousands of miles to seek the help of physicians trained to treat chronic, debilitating illnesses caused by mold. Physicians trained to treat Chronic Inflammatory Response Symptoms from Water Damaged Buildings (CIRS-WDB) are few and far between in this country.
It can be very difficult to be so sick, uncertain if one will ever be well again, and made to feel so small and unimportant — in large part because U.S. physicians are not being properly educated about the causes and effects of chronic, debilitating, environmental illnesses. The lack of informed help from the medical community, public health agencies and code enforcement agencies can and often does contribute heavily to the overwhelming burden of lives disrupted by debilitating environmental exposures.
The National Institute of Health recently issued a report which accurately states:
“Both society and the medical profession have contributed to ME/CFS [Chronic Fatigue] patients feeling disrespected and rejected. They are often treated with skepticism, uncertainty, and apprehension and labeled as deconditioned or having a primary psychological disorder. ME/CFS patients often make extraordinary efforts at extreme personal and physical costs to find a physician who will correctly diagnose and treat their symptoms while others are treated inappropriately causing additional harm. Overall, the debilitating effects of ME/CFS can result in financial instability due to the consequences of the illness (e.g., the loss of employment, home)”….economic burden estimated to be between $2 billion and $7 billion in the United States. ME/CFS results in major disability for a large proportion of the people affected.”
For children and adolescents, the isolation from their friends coupled with being sick and helpless, being out of a stable home environment with no possessions, and worrying about the future of their family members, can be particularly emotionally devastating.
Jared’s mother made this post on Facebook yesterday requesting that it be spread far and wide:
The movie to which the mother refers is the documentary, MOLDY. It was released earlier this year. Please watch it for a greater understanding of what drives the chronically environmentally injured to suicide.
There is a Go Fund Me account which has been set up to help Kelli pay for her son, Jared’s, burial expenses. According to the funding website:
“Kelli has lost her son Jared tonight. They have been battling toxic mold poisoning. She’s gone beyond her means to do everything for these kids. She’s moved across country this month just to have them in a city with better air quality to help them heal. She’s spent her last funds to make this move. Please help her to take care of burying her child while caring for her family.”
Pictures of Jared Dussault in September of 2014 and February of 2015, as taken from his mother’s Power Point presentation:
Please honor his mother’s wishes and spread Jared Dussault’s message far and wide. Like many other children debilitated by moldy living environments, this child was somebody who was made to feel like he was a nobody.
May this young man, who life was cut short and ended tragically in despair because of perverse, money-motivated politics over environmental illnesses in the United States, rest in peace.
Our heart-felt condolences to Kelli, Jared’s younger siblings and all the Dussault family.