November 25, 2010|By Jim Ilardi
I applaud the Orlando Sentinel for its special report last month that has brought attention to the issue of toxins in our schools. Mold is not an isolated problem, but rather a symptom of other moisture-related issues. Without identifying the cause and implementing a feasible long-term fix, along with a sound preventive-maintenance program, mold will continue to thrive.
The good news is that once the moisture-related issues have been addressed, the protocol for mold remediation is straightforward. The Florida Mold Bill is now law and went into effect in July to establish professional standards for those who perform mold assessment and remediation in our state.
The three key components of the law that everyone should know about when they suspect they have mold and need a remediation contractor are as follows:
Ensure that your remediation contractor is certified through the American Council for Accredited Certification, the exclusive provider of remediation licenses for the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
Ensure that your remediation contractor carries “mold specific” pollution-liability coverage. General liability will not cover mold.
Note that the company that performs the assessment cannot also be the same company that performs the remediation. This instills third-party accountability and holds the contractors responsible for ensuring the remediation was performed to protocol.
The legislative purpose, as listed in the statute, says: “The Legislature finds it necessary in the interest of the public safety and welfare, to prevent damage to real and personal property, to avert economic injury to the residents of this state, and to regulate persons and companies that hold themselves out to the public as qualified to perform mold-related services.”
By hiring only certified professionals and implementing a level of accountability to the industry, we will see a dramatic decline in the amount of repeat work required to perform mold remediation, reducing both health risks and costs.
It’s a simple principle: Do it right the first time, and you won’t pay for it later.
However, when it comes to our schools, state and municipal employees who perform remediation are exempt from these same professional standards. Shouldn’t “public safety and welfare” extend to where our children go to school? Shouldn’t we be “averting economic injury” in our school systems as well?
We need to take a common-sense approach toward providing cost-effective solutions, rather than waste money on replicating existing flaws. The protocol has been established. Now we simply have to apply it.
•John P. Lapotaire, CIEC
•Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant
•Microshield Environmental Services, LLC