Mold remediation is the process of removing molds from an affected area. Mold can be toxic and cause major health problems, like asthma, rashes, or nausea. Toxic mold often affects places, such as homes, schools, or workplaces. The most common places for mold to grow are:
- Air-conditioning units;
- Basements that have been flooded;
- Under refrigerators;
- Under bathroom or kitchen sinks;
- Around windows with leaks;
- On shower curtains;
- In humidifiers;
- Under damp carpets;
- Near areas with plumbing problems; and/or
- On roofs or ceilings, especially where there is a leak.
Mold remediation is often considered necessary because exposure to toxic mold can lead to serious injury in some cases. For instance, exposure to mold can lead to various forms of lung diseases and chest diseases. These types of injuries can be debilitating and can create long-term medical problems for the affected user.
Also, mold exposure is a serious concern because there can sometimes be the possibility that many people may be affected by the same mold issue at the same time. For instance, if the mold problem is situated in a central air conditioning system, the toxic mold substances can sometimes be spread throughout an entire house or building. This can create the situation where many people are injured because the air conditioning system is distributing the mold in several places.
Lastly, mold can cause severe property damage in some cases. For example, walls that have been affected by mold must sometimes be broken down or completely replaced if there is a serious mold issue. This can cost the building owner or manager time and resources in order to fix the problem.
There are many different types of mold that could be present in your home. Generally the homeowner or tenant can remove small amounts of harmless mold. However, you will probably need the expertise of hazardous materials removal workers when toxic mold infests your house or apartment.
These workers are trained to take special precautions to protect themselves and the surrounding areas from being contaminated by the mold. They will also have specific equipment that will help protect them from exposure to hazardous mold materials and substances during the mold remediation process.
Most states now have laws specifically designed to ensure that mold remediators in those states are adequately trained and licensed. If you are still hesitant, check the mold remediator’s credentials against what your state’s law requires.
Currently, there are no federal laws that provide standards for residential buildings. But, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does provide guidelines for mold remediation in schools and commercial buildings. Also, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provide the standards and guidelines on mold in the workplace.
Some states have passed laws regarding mold standards and the guidelines are specifically about indoor-air quality. For example, California’s Toxic Mold Protection Act of 2001 has established remediation standards for landlords, owners, and contractors. It also requires landlords to disclose to current and prospective tenants about known mold problems.
Mold exposure lawsuits can be filed in certain situations. For instance, if a building owner or property manager fails to perform mold remediation measures when needed, they might become liable for any injuries sustained by the occupants of the building.
In such cases, legal action may be needed to remedy the situation. Legal remedies in such cases typically involve a monetary damages award, which may compensate the injured party for losses like:
- Medical expenses like hospital bills, medical treatment, medication costs, and other similar costs;
- Costs associated with loss of enjoyment of life;
- Loss of the ability to generate income in the future;
- Lost wages during medical recovery time; and/or
- Pain and suffering costs.
That damages may also sometimes cover the costs of repairing damage, as property damage is frequently a part of many mold lawsuits. Depending on the building structure, this can sometimes involve an extensive amount of time and resources.
If you are a tenant whose landlord refuses to hire a mold remediator, then contact a local housing rights group and they will be able to advise you of your rights. Often these groups can offer free resources and guide you through paperwork and filing steps, before you need to consider a private lawsuit.
If you are a homeowner with a mold problem and your insurance company will not pay, consult a real estate lawyer who will be able to help you assert your rights and keep your home safe. A lawyer can help provide advice, representation, and valuable guidance for your case.