ASSE: Proposed New York Mold Bill Provides No Protection

May 21, 2003
The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) urged New York State senators to oppose S.B. 896, The Toxic Mold Protection Act.

ASSE claims the bill attempts to set permissible exposure limits for mold, standards for identification of molds and standards for remediation when good science indicates that not enough is known about mold to be able to set such limits or standards.

"More scientific research on the link between mold and health need to be done before such action should be taken," ASSE President Mark D. Hansen, PE, CSP, said in a letter to New York Senator Carl L. Marcellino, the bill's sponsor.

A recent ASSE Professional Safety journal article, "Mold 101: An Overview for Safety, Health and Environmental Professionals," states that while OSHA and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) currently offer guidelines for determining mold risks, much of the information on the health risks of mold is only anecdotal. The article goes on to say, "It is hoped that continued studies of the relationship between airborne mold levels and health effects will eventually move the information from a quasi-industry standard to a full-fledged consensus standard and perhaps ultimately, provide the basis for regulatory guidance."

"Progress is being made in determining the health effects of mold, but still more needs to be learned," Hansen noted in his letter to Marcellino. "ASSE is confident that more will be known in the near future."

S.B. 896, as written, limits the expert resources now available to assist New York. The proposed legislation gives only industrial hygienists' organizations status as mold authorities under New York law, leaving out other potentially qualified organizations and professionals. ASSE argues that expertise to perform mold analysis and remediation is determined by specific training and experience, not certification. While some Certified Industrial Hygienists (CIHs) are qualified, so are some Certified Safety Professionals (CSPs) and other designations.

ASSE is urging the New York legislature to require a study be done and be open to all safety, health and environmental professionals to determine the best way to identify and address all mold risks. "We hope that New York moves with caution," Hansen added. "Even the best efforts will accomplish little or nothing at this time. While the intention of the bill is without doubt good, this bill will not help address New Yorkers' fears about mold - in both the private and public sector."

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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