ATLANTA (CBS46) -- Movies are supposed to leave viewers breathless with action, drama, and more. But one movie set literally left a worker breathless due to a problem that can take a serious toll on a person's health.
“It can escalate really fast and the next thing you know you can possibly be dead,” said Michael Green, who works on movie sets around Atlanta.
For Green the next chapter of his life is filled with uncertainty.
“There were times in the first three months when I couldn’t even walk more than 5 minutes at a time without sitting down to rest for an hour,” said Green.
His severe respiratory problems, according to him, are the direct result of working on the Hollywood feature movie, "The Best of Enemies.”
“A police officer pulled up and asked us what we were doing on the site, we explained we’re working on a film we’re prepping the site to be used as a filming location," Green said. "She said, 'Alright, the reason I’m here is because a concerned neighbor called because this building is condemned and nobody’s supposed to be here, at that point we realized the site wasn’t safe to be in.”
The site is the old Hubert Elementary School CBS46 told you about in August that was attracting unsavory squatters. Michael wasn’t the only one to feel the effects of the condemned building.
“People started, you know in our crew had to go to the ER,” said Green.
It’s only after Michael saw mold testing reports from the building that he put two and two together. He saw a respiratory specialist straight away.
“I showed him the air quality reports and he looked at those and he said there’s no way anybody could be in there and not be sick,” said Green.
We went to a pulmonologist to ask him about the air quality reports.
“Yes, those numbers are alarming for an enclosed space,” said pulmonary specialist at WellStar Health System Dr. Amyn Hirani. “If people, if they’re sensitive and they have certain group types like asthma, chronic lung diseases or immunosuppression it could be life threatening.”
Read the Mold Reports:
The test results showed dangerous levels of black mold spores in the building on two separate occasions. One report showed no levels at all. CBS46's Jamie Kennedy spoke to the people who performed the tests and they said results in an uncontrolled environment can vary day to day, and on that day, no moisture may have been present.
Growths of all types can be seen throughout the decaying building. To safely enter a building with such high mold levels you would need to wear an approved respirator and protective clothing as mold can seep into your skin. CBS46 saw growths of all types throughout the decaying building.
We reached out to the production company and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees regarding work conditions.
After many emails and phone calls we were able to track down an executive producer who worked on “The Best of Enemies.” He confirmed that air tests showed an unsafe work environment, leading to the site being shut down, and production moved elsewhere.
CBS46's Kennedy spoke to another crew member who didn’t want to speak on camera, but confirmed conditions weren’t great and that a number of people on the production fell sick.
Michael said he’s prepared for backlash.
“Just by me doing this I know this is probably going to have an effect on my career.”
He wants to warn others that may not realize their health problems may be caused from working on the set, including children extras. He estimates his financial loss so far at $45,000 but says the on-going health costs will be exponential.
“It affects everything, yeah for sure, just imagine everything in your life that requires breathing, and that’s everything,” said Green.