DHEC investigating mold complaint involving food at Marlboro County school


The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) said it’s investigating after receiving a complaint about mold found on a banana at Bennettsville Intermediate School (BIS), according to Tommy Crosby, Public Information Officer S.C. Dept. of Health & Environmental Control.

Marlboro County School Board has heard growing concerns from parents and some teachers at BIS since this past spring.

Board members previously reconfigured schools and voted to close BIS because of the mold. It rescinded that vote after public outcry from many upset over reconfiguration changes.

Some parents still insist there's mold at the school, and that mold is making students and teachers sick.

To further address the concerns, mold tests were completed. ABC15's received a copy of the mold report done by Ronald Sharpe from GEl Engineering.

Sharpe tested the school back in May. He says, while he did find some mold in the school, "no current conditions exist that warrant the evacuation, removal, and transfer of faculty and/or students from Bennettsville Intermediate school due to the presence of microbiological hazards."

Sharp identified an "abundant or loaded level of Cladosporium mold" on eight of 12 surface swap samples, but says the amount "did not adversely affect the microbial air quality in the school."

ABC15 did some digging and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) says that type of mold, while common, has been linked in some cases to asthma and allergies.

The results recommend normal cleaning using solution that is "quaternary ammonium or sodium hypochlorite-based" can be used to remove the mold.

Sharp's report says no mold remediation measures are required.

Several parents said they don’t care what the mold inspection report says because it’s wrong. They say their children are sick and they have pictures of mold throughout the school.

Marlboro County Interim Superintendent Dr. John Lane said he is trying to make contact with DHEC to learn more information about the complaint.

He said he’ll make a comment on the matter once he hears from DHEC.

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