The second week of December, painters arrived and painted our hallways and vestibules. This brings up three issues:
1. **Why they needed to paint during holiday season
when so many people had decorations up or being moved in – wreaths on doors etc.,
2. Why anyone would paint closed areas in winter when there is no possibility of airing/venting toxic fumes.
3. Lack of proper notice/communication ****
As to #1. I called the office and was informed
by Sean that the hallways had to be painted. Why? Is it an end-of-year money thing for Elliman? It couldn’t have waited until Spring? The walls and handrails of this building were not in dire need of paint. Was this a board mandate? Did anyone take our quality of life/holidays/health into consideration? As to #2. Clearly, they were not using low or no-VOC paint. The paints they used release VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, for months after application. VOCs can include highly toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde.* *I called the office and asked that the bulkhead windows be opened so we could vent the fumes. Sean and Gilbert arrived. They said they had “opened” the bulkhead window but didn’t mention that the window opening had been sealed off from outside with plexi, which I discovered after they left and I went to upper 5th floor because the air was still so stagnant and toxic. **Of course we cannot leave the roof door open for days so the only venting of hallways and vestibules was into our apartments. **The painters told us we had to leave our apt. doors open until 6 PM for them to dry. They didn’t dry until the 2nd day. My breathing was compromised. **I had to open my own apt. windows and stuff towels under the doors to get some immediate, short term relief.** I am still sick.** * *As to #3. Not one resident in this building knew to remove anything from vestibules because there was no reference to “vestibules”. Gail’s letter referred only to “common hallways and handrails”. Sean’s response was that “vestibules” are common areas. Can someone please define “common areas” and “vestibules” for me? There are many 4-bedroom simplex units with their own vestibules. Am I to believe that their vestibules are mine to hang out in? Sean said he had no idea that our building was being painted at this time. I replied, “You are a Douglas Elliman employee. How can you not know?” Gilbert started laughing. Sean just looked dumbstruck. I understand that many people are not knowledgeable about toxic fumes from certain painting/construction materials. Apparently this includes our management and it’s not just Gail Davis. How shall we proceed?