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Old 01-08-2021, 06:18 PM
1 posts, read 576 times
Reputation: 10


Hello everyone, I have been a long time lurker here in city data, theres alot of useful information.

I have a situation that I have been trying to solve for a few months and at this point I really dont know what to do and was hoping to get some opinions and suggestions.

I live in an apartment in New York City with my family. For the past few months all of us have been having this strange allergy where there will be coughing, sneezing, itchy skin, itchy eyes & throat and a strange taste in my mouth that only happens when we are in the apartment.

At first my wife and I thought it was from some nearby construction, but these symptoms have been happening mostly late in the night, where theres not much going on outside. I do remember that the apartment above us had some sort of issue with their bathtub which leaked into the bathroom in our home at some point before, but the landlord had someone take care of the leak.

The allergies have gotten progressively worse. I have checked the bathroom for visible mold and I havent found anything. I have sent emails to the landlord letting him know that theres something inside our apartment that is making everyone sick and that there are young kids living here. I have made various complaints to 311 about the issue and asked if they can send someone to test the air quality here. But in all cases nothing has been done.

Today I called a company that tests air quality and looks for mold and other things. They charge $400 to start and get someone here and charge more for further testing.

At this time $400+ is a really big expense for us, since we need the money because we plan on moving from this apartment in less than 3 months. And that doesnt include any other expenses to remedy the situation.

I looked online whether we can transfer the expenses to the landlord, but they advised against the strategies such as using part of the rent to pay for the services or withholding the rent. And it seems that in NY the landlord is not responsible for mold situations, as I found online.

At this point, its a challenging situation for all of us here and I really dont know what to do from here. Can someone point me in the right direction? Thank you.
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Old 01-08-2021, 06:24 PM
141 posts, read 39,010 times
Reputation: 99
Could be chemicals from a meth lab next door, or floor below or above. Usually you can smell something chemical like or sorta like gasoline or acetone. Or maybe the meth lab was in your apartment and carpets were not changed, or walls not re-painted over. Were the sinks or bathtubs replaced before you moved in? Often a meth lab will stain white sinks red, and it is a permanent stain, so landlords replace them. Just a thought.
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Old 01-08-2021, 10:00 PM
6,625 posts, read 3,077,633 times
Reputation: 12683
You can buy inexpensive air quality monitors that are under $100. I got one that measures VOCs, dust, formaldehyde and air quality for about $80. There are companies that sell mold test kits you can do at home. I think they are like $20 and you just send them off and get the results. It’s definitely something that you should be able to check on your own without having to pay $400. FWIW, my kitchen does not have a working vent and my monitor often indicates that the air quality is AWFUL after cooking. I usually try to open some windows if it is really bad when the weather is better.

That isn’t going to be a solution for actually solving the problem, but can help you figure out what it might be at least- be it construction dust, mold, etc. I had construction at my last apartment and the amount of dust in there was just insane. I had the same issue in my apartment before that with insane dust.
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Old 01-09-2021, 03:38 PM
Location: on the wind
12,920 posts, read 6,444,509 times
Reputation: 42489
One other possibility. What's the indoor air humidity level? That's easy enough to find out. It is winter so you're heating the apartment. Unless you have steam radiators, heated air tends to be very dry. Dry air can irritate your respiratory tract (sneezing, coughing, sore scratchy throat, dry mouth which can be associated with strange taste) as well as itchy skin and eyes. Just ask anyone who lives in a dry cold climate during the winter. It isn't hard to raise the humidity level.

Not quite sure what you want from us. You have several options but seem to have eliminated them.

You imply that you can't or won't move out.
You say you can't afford to test the apartment air to identify what the contaminant might be.
You imply that your LL isn't offering to do anything.

After checking the indoor humidity, maybe the best temporary solution is to filter the air to remove as much of some potential unidentified contaminant as possible. There are many different portable (you can take it with you when you move) air filtration systems. Here's a very recent review of some:


Last edited by Parnassia; 01-09-2021 at 04:49 PM..
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Old 01-13-2021, 10:11 AM
Location: Brawndo-Thirst-Mutilator-Nation
18,715 posts, read 19,018,802 times
Reputation: 15695
Get a 20 x 20 box-fan and stick a filter over the intake, run it on high.

A cheap way to give you a good idea if reducing particulates in the air will help the problem.
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