NYS Mold Laws
NEW YORK ASSEMBLY BILL A01466 (2011)
Introduced in January of 2011, Assembly Bill A01466 is titled “An act to amend the public housing law, the public health law, and the real property law, in relation to the remediation and prevention of indoor mold and requiring the disclosure of indoor mold history upon the sale of certain real property.”
The bill is intended to set standards and practices for the handling of indoor mold in both real property and public housing. It includes three major specific provisions:
Section 1 amends the public housing law by adding section 16-a, which directs and authorizes the commissioner to create procedures for the remediation and prevention of mold.
Section 2 amends the public health law by adding article 48-A, which authorizes the commissioner to publicize standards in the detection, prevention, and remediation of indoor mold within environments subject to the rules of the department.
Section 3 amends subdivision 2 of section 462 of the real property law, as added by chapter 456 of the laws of 2001, by adding questions 19-a and 19-b, which pertain to indoor mold, to the Property Condition Disclosure Statement.
NEW YORK PUBLIC HEALTH LAW SECTION 1384 (2005)
Article 13, Title 11-A, Section 1384 of the Laws of New York was passed in 2005. The law formed the New York Toxic Mold Task Force with the following duties:
(a) assess, based on scientific evidence, the nature, scope and magnitude of the adverse environmental and health impacts caused by toxic mold in the state;
(b) measure, based on scientific evidence, the adverse health effects of exposure to molds on the general population, including specific effects on subgroups identifiable as being at greater risk of adverse health effects when exposed to molds;
(c) identify actions taken by state, and local governments, and other entities;
(d) assess the latest scientific data on exposure limits to mold in indoor environments;
(e) determine methods for the control of mold in a cost-effective and environmentally sound manner and identify measures to mitigate mold; and
(f) prepare a report to the governor and the legislature that assesses the current body of knowledge on toxic mold, provides the status of toxic mold in the state, and assesses the feasibility of any further actions to be taken by the legislature or state agencies as recommended by the task force.
Mold (The Full Story)
Mold is a non-scientific term for many types of fungi - unwanted, unappealing patches of black, brown, yellow, pink, green, smelly, fuzzy growths. Countless species of mold are found both indoors and outdoors.
"Mold" and "fungus" have many connotations, most of them unpleasant: musty odors, damp basements, moldy carpets, water leaks, soggy drywall, athlete's foot, and poisonous mushrooms, among others. On the positive side, molds are also responsible for penicillin and blue cheese; yeasts are fungi (plural of fungus) used to make bread, beer, and wine; and some types of mushrooms are considered edible delicacies. And without fungi to break them down, the world would be buried in leaves, trees, grass, and garbage.
Although mold and its spores are literally everywhere, active mold growth requires moisture. Whether on visible surfaces or hiding behind drywall, in attics, or under carpets, indoor mold grows in the presence of excessive dampness or water. Also found in damp indoor environments are:
break-down products of bacteria and molds, such as proteins, cell-wall particles (glucans) and volatile organic compounds (the actual cause of the musty odor associated with mold);
airborne chemicals, gasses, and particulate matter caused by destruction of materials by growing molds.
Indoor mold may be unsightly and smelly, but the potential problems are more serious than that. By definition, actively-growing mold damages the material it lives on, thereby impairing structural integrity. In addition, mold is associated with some untoward health effects in humans, including allergies and infections. (Some health effects attributed to mold may in fact be caused by bacteria, dust mites, etc., found in mold-colonized environments. So-called "toxic mold" has been claimed as the cause of "toxic mold disease"; this syndrome remains undefined and "toxic mold" as a cause remains unproven. "Toxic mold" is also unproven as a cause of the various symptoms associated with "sick building syndrome".1,2)
Mold growth in homes, schools, and businesses should be eliminated for the sake of human health, structural integrity, and quality of life. Cleaning up small amounts of mold can be done by homeowners. Eliminating mold from large areas requires expertise and protection both for the removal specialists and occupants of the affected space.