Two Fox News Employees Sue, Claiming Toxic Mold in TV Studio

January 31, 2006

Two Fox News employees have filed a lawsuit claiming they were sickened by air contaminated with toxic molds and pesticides while working in the building where “The O’Reilly Factor” and “At Large with Geraldo Rivera” are produced.

Laurette DeRosairo and Madronicia Clarke, both Fox employees for about nine years, say in court papers that the molds and the “inappropriate” use of cleaning agents and pesticides has caused them headaches, dizziness, weakness, anxiety and blurred vision.

DeRosairo, a control booth graphics technician, and Clarke, a makeup artist, said they were made ill while working within the broadcasting complex that produces shows that also include “Hannity and Colmes” and “Dayside.”

The chemicals caused DeRosairo to develop acute asthma, a sensitivity to scents that causes her throat to constrict, and other respiratory problems, the suit said. It claimed that Clark suffers chronic fatigue, autoimmune diseases and other health problems.

Kenneth F. McCallion, the women’s lawyer, said DeRosairo was taken to a hospital in March 2005 with respiratory distress after she was exposed to a pesticide in the studio.

The lawsuit, filed Jan. 27 in Manhattan’s state Supreme Court, names Fox news and the building’s management company as defendants. It asks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages for their alleged injuries.

Irena Briganti, spokeswoman for Fox News, issued a statement saying, “The allegations in this lawsuit are baseless and lack merit.”

She said the federal Occupational, Safety and Health Administration had declined to investigate, and an onsite probe by the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation had left the matter “fully resolved.”

“Fox news is in full compliance with both OSHA and DEC guidelines,” Briganti said.

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