WASHINGTON, DC — The Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association (SMWIA) has formally announced its support for the “United States Toxic Mold Safety & Protection Act” (HR 5040), a new bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI).

The bill calls upon the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to issue guidelines that define acceptable and unacceptable levels of mold in buildings and to set standards for those who inspect and clean up mold-infected sites, requiring states to license and monitor mold remediators.

In addition, Conyers’ bill will call on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct a long-term study of the health effects of mold and publish these findings in a report to Congress and the president.

Other aspects of the bill include: allowing states to tap federal dollars to clean mold disasters; establishing a federal toxic mold insurance program providing compensation for families whose property and/or health has been negatively affected by toxic molds; mandating federal guidelines that states must adhere to that require homeowners and residential real estate developers to disclose mold problems upon the sale of their home; and licensing laboratories that test mold for toxicity.

“Today’s buildings, and the factors influencing construction, retrofitting, and maintenance, dictate the need for professional, certified experts to perform the complex heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration procedures necessary to protect inhabitants from deadly molds, unhealthy indoor air quality, and most unfortunately, bioterrorism,” stated Michael J. Sullivan, general president of the SMWIA. “Through this bill, Representative Conyers has rightly brought this issue to the attention of his Congressional colleagues.”

The SMWIA represents more than 150,000 journeymen and apprentices through 184 local unions, and its contractor partner is the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA).

“The National Energy Management Institute, a not-for-profit institution funded jointly by the SMWIA and SMACNA, through its research and training programs has significantly increased our membership’s capabilities in ensuring the ventilation systems that are installed and maintained by sheet metal workers are safe from toxic mold, Legionella, and other harmful indoor air quality situations occurring all too frequently in indoor environments,” said Sullivan.

“These problems have a clear solution, yet the problems will be compounded if steps are not taken along the lines proposed in this major legislation.

“Representative Conyers’ bill is an important step toward a solution and the SMWIA will utilize our union industry’s proven expertise in this area to help ensure the bill’s passage and enactment into law,” concluded Sullivan.

Publication date: 06/24/2002