FAIRFIELD, CA — California Governor Gray Davis has signed a bill that directs the state Department of Health Services (DHS) to develop standards for mold exposure. It will also require landlords and homeowners to disclose the presence of toxic mold when selling buildings.

With the signing of Senate Bill 732, the Toxic Mold Protection Act of 2001, California has become the first state in the country to develop standards for permissible exposure limits to mold. Under the act, DHS will be required to establish a mold task force of health and medical experts, education and county representatives, and corporate executives to make recommendations for standards in indoor environments. Similar standards will also be recommended for hospitals, nursing homes, and childcare facilities.

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