Mom worries mold will kill daughter with ‘difficult breathing’

Terri Harrigan and her kids, the mold in her house.

Terri Harrigan said she was “constantly concerned about her children” at her home (Pictures: SWNS)

A mother fears her three-year-old daughter will die with breathing difficulties from the mold that covers her house.

Terri Harrigan’s daughter Ariella has been “sick for most of her life” and her mum believes this is because she grew up surrounded by black mold in Hackney, east London.

The little girl, whose mattress is covered in moisture, is struggling to breathe properly and has to use a salbutamol inhaler.

At one point it was so bad that an ambulance had to be called, the mother claims.

The 31-year-old mum has complained to Hackney Council several times but said they had just painted over the mould.

Terri first discovered the issue in December 2019, shortly after she moved into the property.

She found black mold on the walls in her living room, kitchen, both bedrooms and toilet — as well as in her closet, windows and ceiling — and even spread to her clothes and mattresses.

Despite her efforts to wash the mold off herself—two to three times a week—it keeps growing back.

Terri Harrigan with M'Kenna, Peyton and Ariealla.

Terri Harrigan believes the mold in her home is harming her children’s health (Image: SWNS)

The mold in Terri Harrigan's house.

Terri claims the council was just “painting over the mold” when she complained (Image: SWNS)

The mold in Terri Harrigan's house.

The mold has spread to the family’s clothing and mattresses (Image: SWNS)

Terri, an NHS receptionist, said: “Ariella is getting sick at least every two to three weeks now.

“She’s really struggling with her breathing – and doctors even wrote a letter to the council to say the mold is causing her health problems.

“All I want is for her to be healthy and happy – my main concern as a new mom shouldn’t be my three-year-old dying suddenly.”

Terri said she was left “without a doubt” that the mold was causing her daughter’s health problems when she discovered the wall behind her bed and her mattress was “caked up” in it.

She said: “Ariella has to sleep next to the wall or she’ll fall out of bed. I try to do what I can by washing the wall behind her bed three to four times a week.

“I suffer from asthma and migraines myself, so the mold often makes me sick too. The City Council needs to do something about this.

“They’ve come out to me three times since September 2020 — and each time they just painted it over.”

Doctors have reportedly sent a letter to the council recommending that she be re-housed, but the family is still waiting seven months later.

Terri says her mental health has been “ruined” by the whole situation because she “worries about her children all the time,” especially following the tragic death of two-year-old Awaab Ishak.

The mold in Terri Harrigan's house.

The council said it would “start work to resolve any issues” at the home (Image: SWNS)

The mold in Terri Harrigan's house.

The child’s mattress is also covered in mold (Image: SWNS)

The council said: “We sincerely apologize for the delay in repairs experienced by Ms Harrigan following our survey in November 2022.

“Council carried out repair work related to recurrent damp in 2019, 2020 and again in January 2022.

“The last issue – November 2022 – has been reviewed, but this work has been delayed due to supply chain issues and a communication failure on our end.

“We have now been in contact with Ms Harrigan to begin work to resolve any issues as quickly as possible.

“As part of this, we will be looking at more stringent measures to prevent any future recurrence.

“Hackney Council is one of the largest social landlords in the country and we want to reassure everyone who lives in one of our homes that tackling damp and mold is a priority for us.

“We launched a home repairs action plan last year – backed by an additional £1m investment.

“This includes reviewing all moisture and mold reports within five business days; Reassessing any outstanding damp and mold complaints and ensuring they are prioritized based on the severity of the case and the age and health of those living in the home.’

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Justin Scacco

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