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ASSE Comments on Mold Bill

The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) has some suggestions for Rep. John Conyers Jr. (R-Mich.) to "improve" H.R. 5040, the "United States Toxic Mold Safety and Protection Act of 2002."

ASSE suggests incorporating certified occupational safety, health and environmental professionals; conducting scientific research on the link between mold and health; and supporting a tax credit.

The bill, introduced in the House last June, calls for mandating comprehensive research into mold growth, generating guidelines for preventing indoor mold growth, establishing standards for removing mold when it does grow and authorizing tax credits for inspection and remediation of mold removal in public buildings.

"We commend you for addressing in legislation the rapidly growing national concern over the health risks associated with mold," ASSE President Mark Hansen, PE, CSP, stated in an August 23 letter to Conyers. "This bill is a significant, meaningful first step in finding ways at the federal level to address the mold issue and to provide a safety net of protections to those whose health is compromised by it."

However, Hansen continues, the members of ASSE are concerned that the wording of the bill limits the type of professionals that can perform the inspections, remediation and planning work to only industrial hygienists when, in fact, a variety of occupational safety, health and environmental professionals are highly qualified to perform this work.

"Restricting the kinds of professionals who may address mold not only overlooks most professionals that businesses and public agencies now turn to in order to make buildings safe from environmental threats such as mold, it would also keep the bill from achieving its goal," Hansen wrote.

Rather than requiring the promulgation of standards for specific safety and health professions, ASSE recommends that the bill instead should address requirements for education and training of those involved in the recognition, evaluation and control of mold-related problems.

In addition, said Hansen, "The need for research that can determine the link between mold and health far outweighs the need for specific action."

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