FAIRFIELD, Calif. – In October California Governor Gray Davis signed Senate Bill 732 into law making California the first state nationwide to develop standards for permissible exposure limits to mold.

The bill directs the state Department of Health Services (DHS) to develop standards for mold exposure. The bill also will require landlords and homeowners to disclose the presence of toxic mold when selling buildings.

The measure was among a package of four environmental-quality bills Davis signed. The others will require the state to study the health effects of toxic mold, develop a specific standard for chromium 6 in drinking water and update the current standard for arsenic in drinking water.

The Toxic Mold Protection Act of 2001 also requires that DHS establish a mold task force composed of health and medical experts, education and county representatives, and corporate executives to make recommendations for standards in indoor environments. Similar standards for hospitals, nursing homes and childcare facilities are to be recommended as well. The task force will also be responsible for advising the Department on standards for the identification and remediation of mold.

The timing was noted by Air Quality Sciences, a private Atlanta-based company with a new West Coast office. AQS consults with governmental agencies and public health professionals throughout the United States and performs specialized indoor air quality testing to ensure remediated buildings are fit for re-occupancy. AQS’ Western Region Office is currently planning community outreach/education initiatives including a two-day seminar in February on “The Identification, Management and Remediation of Mold in Buildings.”

According to AQS:

  • In the U.S., about 17 million people have asthma and up to 30% of them are sensitive to molds and fungal allergens.

  • It is estimated that “25% of airways disease and 60% of interstitial lung disease may be associated with moisture in the home or work environment” (HUD, 2001), and where there is moisture, there is most definitely mold.

  • All molds have the potential to cause health effects such as allergic reactions, asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and other immunological effects.

  • Molds that are known to produce mycotoxins under certain conditions include Stachybotrys chartarum, Aspergillus fumigatus, Trichoderma harzianum, and Fusarium moniliforme.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency states that “potential health concerns are an important reason to prevent mold growth and to remediate/clean up any existing indoor mold growth” (2001).

For additional information contact Susan Evans at 707-399-9110 or toll free at 866-298-6537. AQS’ office is located off Interstate 80 between Sacramento and San Francisco, at 1455 Oliver Road, Suite 240, Fairfield, Calif. 94533