NAII Says N.Y. Mold Study Bill

May 22, 2003

The National Association of Independent Insurers has issued a statement indicating that proposed legislation in New York that would require the Department of Health to conduct a comprehensive study on the health risks of mold and impose assessment and testing standards on property owners would create significant and unnecessary expenses.

“Passage of this bill would create an expensive redundancy that simply isn’t needed,” stated Gerald L. Zimmerman, NAII senior counsel. “Health experts including the Center for Disease Control, the Environmental Protection Agency and OSHA have recognized mold as less of a health threat than attorneys, the media and so-called remediation experts would lead us to believe. Cost of compliance to the average property owner will be astronomical, as getting even close to eliminating mold would require a hospital operating room environment.”

The NAII noted that the bill, S.B. 896, “directs the Department of Health to convene a task force to assist in developing legal exposure limits to mold, standards for assessment of molds in indoor environments, as well as alternative standards for hospitals, child care facilities, and nursing homes and standards for mold identification, and remediation.” However, the organization stressed that such “further study is unnecessary because of comprehensive information already available from sources including the EPA and the Texas Department of Health.”

Zimmerman added that the “CDC, EPA and OSHA have all said the same thing: fix the water problem quickly and there won’t be a mold problem. The only people really at risk are those who already have compromised pulmonary systems, and it is unwise to set ‘standards’ based on them or you will end up with a zero-tolerance standard for something that cannot be eliminated.”

The NAII said, “Establishing remediation standards will inevitably result in all suspected mold losses being handled as if asbestos or lead were present.” Zimmerman noted that “We have seen industries go bankrupt in an effort to ‘control’ lead and asbestos. Mold cannot be eliminated. It is ubiquitous and a living organism and has been around since the beginning of time and if properly remediated, poses little or no health threats. This bill will actually compound the hype and sensationalism perpetuated by the trial bar, so-called mold remediators and the news media.”

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