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Environ Sci Technol. 2007 Jul 15;41(14):4861-7.

Can mold contamination of homes be regulated? Lessons learned from radon and lead policies.

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  • 1Environmental and Occupational Health, University of Pittsburgh, Bridgeside Point, Room 560, 100 Technology Drive, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15219, USA.


Increasingly, airborne mold in home environments has been linked with asthma exacerbation and other respiratory diseases in both children and adults. This problem is particularly relevanttoday, as Hurricane Katrina has resulted in water damage and mold proliferation in numerous homes on the U.S. Gulf Coast. Policies to control indoor moisture and mold can help solve problems of mold contamination and associated adverse health effects, yet very little attention has been given to developing such policies. We address the question of howto develop effective policies by deriving lessons from successful control of other home environmental contaminants; namely, radon and lead. These two agents are being controlled by a variety of policy approaches, including federal regulations and guidelines, public education, and economic incentives among home buyers and sellers. We analyze the mold problem and identify both similarities and differences with the radon and lead situations in the United States. We recommend policy approaches for controlling mold in homes that rely on home marketing incentives, building and housing codes, and maintenance and rehabilitation regulations, as well as public education initiatives.

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