U.S. House Mold Legislation Gathers Praise, no Moss

The Sheet Metal Workers' International Association (SMWIA) has endorsed the "United States Toxic Mold Safety & Protection Act," which was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D, Mich.).

The bill requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to issue guidelines that define acceptable and unacceptable levels of mold in buildings and to set standards for those who inspect and clean up mold-infected sites, requiring states to license and monitor mold remediators.

Additionally Conyers' bill calls on the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct a long-term study of the health effects of mold and publish these findings in a report to Congress and the president. Other aspects of the bill include: allowing states to tap federal dollars to clean mold disasters; establishing a federal toxic mold insurance program providing compensation for families whose property and/or health has been negatively affected by toxic molds; mandating federal guidelines that states must adhere to that require home owners and residential real estate developers to disclose mold problems upon the sale of their home; and licensing labs that test mold for toxicity.

"Today's buildings, and the factors influencing construction, retrofitting and maintenance, dictate the need for professional, certified experts to perform the complex heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration procedures necessary to protect inhabitants from deadly molds, unhealthy indoor air quality and most unfortunately, bio-terrorism," said Michael J. Sullivan, general president of the SMWIA. "Through this bill, Rep. Conyers has rightly brought this issue to the attention of his Congressional colleagues."

The National Energy Management Institute, a not-for-profit institution funded jointly by the SMWIA and the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors' National Association (SMACNA), conducts research and training programs to help ensure the ventilation systems that are installed and maintained by sheet metal workers are safe from toxic mold, Legionella and other harmful indoor air quality conditions, said Sullivan. He added, "These problems have a clear solution, yet the problems will be compounded if steps are not taken along the lines proposed in this major legislation."

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