ARLINGTON, VA — The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) delivered a letter to Tom Ridge, Director of the Office of Homeland Security, offering its members’ assistance in evaluating and mitigating against potential bio-terrorism and chemical risks. “As you know, there is a growing concern over the possibility of ventilation systems being used to deliver dangerous pathogens and toxins,” wrote Paul T. Stalknecht, ACCA executive vice president and chief executive officer. “This concern has heightened since the anthrax outbreak of the past several weeks, and media reports — some based on sound reporting, others based on rumor and innuendo — have placed scrutiny on air-handling equipment.”

Stalknecht also said that a vital part in preventing bioterrorism is to improve systems so that agents introduced into air-handling equipment are limited in their ability to cause harm.

“ACCA’s members are the contact point for consumers of hvacr products and services. A growing number of facilities operators are turning to our members in search of guidance, expertise, and assistance in sifting through the volume of reported risks and devising appropriate defense,” he said.

Stalknecht told Ridge that ACCA has formed an Environmental Systems Security Task Force, chaired by Lee Rosenberg of Texas, to help ACCA members “help their customers provide safety and security to our fellow Americans in their offices and homes.”

Publication date: 11/26/2001