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Toxic mold flourishes as modern household affliction. (On First Reading).



Stachybotrys chartarum/atra. Toxic mold. It has been said that mold, is mold, is mold. But when people get ill, when houses are burned and insurance settlements soar into the millions, mold becomes something more.

Mold is being blamed for causing serious health problems, ranging from allergic reactions and infections to eye and lung irritations. But whether mold indisputably poses substantial health risks remains controversial.

Just like asbestos in the 1980s, reports of dangers associated with mold contamination have swept the nation and fueled the creation of a multimillion dollar industry.

But with a lack of regulation from the federal government and states, fraud is widespread. Panic over mold has stirred families to move into tents in their backyards. One family had the local fire department burn their house to the ground.

States are responding to the possible health implications of mold infestations. California enacted the Toxic Mold Protection Act of 2001 (SB 732), which addresses exposure limits and remediation. The New Jersey Legislature The New Jersey Legislature is the U.S. state of New Jersey's legislative branch, seated in the New Jersey State House at the state's capital, Trenton. The Legislature is bicameral, consisting of two houses: the New Jersey General Assembly and the New Jersey Senate.  passed SR 77 urging the commissioners of Health and Senior Services and Community Affairs to help residents identify and deal with toxic mold infestations.

Congress is considering the United States Toxic Mold Safety and Protection Act of 2002 or the Melina bill (HR 5040). Among other things, the proposal directs the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), agency of the U.S. Public Health Service since 1973, with headquarters in Atlanta; it was established in 1946 as the Communicable Disease Center.  (CDC See Control Data, century date change and Back Orifice.

CDC - Control Data Corporation
), the Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), independent agency of the U.S. government, with headquarters in Washington, D.C. It was established in 1970 to reduce and control air and water pollution, noise pollution, and radiation and to ensure the safe handling and  (EPA EPA eicosapentaenoic acid.

EPA
abbr.
eicosapentaenoic acid


EPA,
n.pr See acid, eicosapentaenoic.

EPA,
n.
) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to jointly study the health effects of indoor mold growth and toxic mold. The EPA is charged with developing standards relating to indoor mold growth and sponsoring public education programs in conjunction with NIH and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Health effects represent the tip of the iceberg tip of the iceberg
n. pl. tips of the iceberg
A small evident part or aspect of something largely hidden: afraid that these few reported cases of the disease might only be the tip of the iceberg. 
 of mold infestation infestation /in·fes·ta·tion/ (-fes-ta´shun) parasitic attack or subsistence on the skin and/or its appendages, as by insects, mites, or ticks; sometimes used to denote parasitic invasion of the organs and tissues, as by helminths. . The insurance industry is bearing a huge burden. In Texas, the settlement of the first major lawsuit in 1999, created an insurance frenzy, causing a 1300 percent increase in residential mold insurance claims over a one-year period. The rise in claims, according to the Insurance Information Institute, helped propel $9 billion in losses for homeowner insurers in 2001. Insurance companies are no longer offering coverage to new homebuyers in many areas and are not renewing policy holders with claim histories.

Insurance commissioners in 34 states and the District of Columbia District of Columbia, federal district (2000 pop. 572,059, a 5.7% decrease in population since the 1990 census), 69 sq mi (179 sq km), on the east bank of the Potomac River, coextensive with the city of Washington, D.C. (the capital of the United States).  have approved provisions that allow insurers to restrict mold coverage to limited cases.
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Publication:State Legislatures
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2003
Words:390
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