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Posted November 23, 2005

Spore Hunting in Atlantic City

Equity Investigates Conditions at Trump Terrace
Environmental Safety Is Top Priority

In mid-October, the Equity Deputy for ANYTHING GOES at the Trump Plaza in Atlantic City called Equity to report that an actor had become seriously ill and had missed several performances. Her doctor determined that the illness was due to environmental factors, prompting an immediate and thorough investigation by Actors’ Equity.

NE Traveling Rep Joe Erdey traveled to Atlantic City to inspect conditions in the housing facilities used for the 23 Actors and Stage Managers. Cast members as well as other corporate employees are housed at the Trump Terrace, a facility approximately one-half mile away from the casino where they perform.

Using sensitive detection equipment, Erdey conducted a sweep of 18 rooms on various floors at the Terrace, and collected samples that were forwarded to a lab for analysis. He determined that although the housing initially met Equity’s safe and sanitary requirements, there was excessive dampness in many locations. Extremely wet weather and proximity to the Atlantic Ocean were possible factors. Erdey also found out that other cast members had experienced similar symptoms. Lab tests subsequently confirmed that there were high levels of mold on two of the three floors at the Trump Terrace.

Kimberly Rimbold, Chief Outside Business Rep, has hunted down spores on Broadway. “It’s not unusual, especially in some of the older theatres. We’ve done testing at several Broadway theatres, including the Majestic (Phantom), the John Golden (Avenue Q), the Ambassador (Chicago) and the Nederlander (Rent), and have also inspected several Off Broadway theatres. Using a device that attaches to a vacuum cleaner, Equity can quickly gather samples and send them to a lab to measure the levels of mold in dressing rooms or other locations. She added: “We have been successful in determining how high the mold levels are and getting the theatres to do some much-needed cleaning.”

Equity uses other equipment to measure safety conditions in theatres, including an Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) meter, which measures Co2 levels; a Personal Data Ram (PDR) to measure smoke and haze; a slope-meter to measure the rake; a digital thermometer to measure the temperature onstage and backstage; and decibel (dB) meter to measure decibel levels. “Workplace safety is our top priority, and we are able to visit any Equity theatre do testing as needed,” emphasized Rimbold.

Meanwhile, Business Representative Gary Dimon and Erdey sent the lab reports to the Producer in Atlantic City, and mandated that anyone who was experiencing negative effects would be relocated to other housing.

On her Doctor’s advice, the actor left the production and is being assisted by Equity with a workers compensation claim.

What to do at your theatre?

If you experience unsafe or unsanitary conditions at your theatre, report the conditions to your Stage Manager or Deputy. Equity must be notified so that appropriate action can he taken.

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