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Toxic Mold: A Growing Concern

Sep 1, 2008
Mold is one of the earliest organisms on this planet. It is ubiquitous; it can be found almost anywhere indoors and outdoors. Molds grow at different temperatures and humidity conditions.

However, many species of molds grow the best in humid climates and in areas of high humidity. This is why mold growth is common in bathrooms, since invariably the air there is warm and moist. However, mold can grow in quite cold temperatures as anyone who has forgotten about a food item in the refrigerator knows.

However, if mold is practically everywhere and has been around for forever, why then is the problem of toxic mold relatively new? Due to the energy crisis of the 1970s, building construction techniques changed. Buildings, residential (homes) and retail/commercial (stores, offices, factories, schools), became more airtight so as to prevent warm air from escaping in the wintertime through and around windows and doors. Building materials have also changed over time.

Newer building materials, those made of paper and/or cellulose such as drywall, insulation, wallpaper, fiberboard, and ceiling tiles, give spore-producing mold a place to grow and thrive, and a source of food.

These paper-based building materials can provide mold a perfect growing environment when they become wet or moist. This is why toxic mold can become such a problem when flooding occurs as is the case for those parts of the southern United States hit by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

But minor water releases due to plumbing failures, condensation, residential water leaks and excessive moisture due to leakage in roofs, pipes, walls, and plant pots can also provide ideal growing conditions for mold and toxic mold.

Toxic Mold, the EPA, and the Melina Bill
There are no established guidelines for the quality of indoor air; although, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has created a strategic plan-"Healthy Buildings, Healthy People: A Vision for the 21st Century" which includes priorities aimed directly at protecting human health indoors. The EPA is focusing their efforts on outreach, education, and technical assistance for non-regulatory programs including toxic mold where geography and climate causes it to be an issue.

In addition, Congressman John Conyers, Jr., D-Michigan, has introduced a bill into the House of Representatives (H.R. 1268) to address the dangers of toxic mold entitled "The United States Toxic Mold Safety and Protection Act (also referred to as "The Melina Bill"). Major provisions of the bill include the following:

* Research and public education: scientifically examine the effects of different molds on human health; certification of mold inspectors and remediators; education of the public;

* Housing and real property provisions: requirement for mold inspections for multi-unit residential property and mold inspections for all property that is purchased or leased using funds that are guaranteed by the federal government; requirement for mold inspections in public housing; when possible, modification of building codes of local jurisdictions to minimize mold hazards in new construction;

* Indoor mold hazard assistance: grants for mold removal in public buildings;

* Tax provisions: tax credits for inspection and/or remediation of toxic mold;

* National toxic mold insurance program: insurance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to protect against catastrophic losses due to toxic mold; and

* Health care provisions: provide Medicaid to mold victims.
About the Author
Visit http://toxic-mold.legalview.com to learn more about the risks associated with toxic mold. Also use http://www.LegalView.com to learn about other serious legal issues afflicting thousands of Americans each year including the Ketek side effects or the potential Zimmer Durom cup recall.
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