Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Settlement Agreement Regarding Mold in NYC Public Housing

A December 16, 2013, New York Times article titled "Facing Suit, New York City Agrees to Remove Mold in Public Housing More Quickly: Hurricane Sandy" discusses the settlement agreement between the New York City Housing Authority and people living in housing projects and coping with asthma.  These residents have long complained that maintenance workers failed to identify the leaks and other sources of moisture that cause mold to grow, these problems have only become worse since Hurricane Sandy.  The settlement will require the authority not only to remove the mold but also to fix leaks, insulate pipes and address other sources of moisture.  The agency will be required, in most cases, to fix the problem within seven to 15 days following a work order.  In addition, it requires housing officials to recognize asthma as a disability and to make accommodations for tenants with the condition. For example, the authority could be expected to relocate a person with asthma and his or her family to another apartment, or to use low-toxicity fungicides or to allow extra air-conditioning units in apartments.

Water intrusion that is not cleaned up within 48 hours could lead to mold growth.
As many of us know in the Remediation industry, you must repair the source of the moisture or mold will return.  In addition, there has been plenty written that mold is only part of the problem when it comes to illnesses like asthma.  Problems caused by the water intrusion is more of a problem for asthma sufferers, even if their is no mold growthFixing water intrusions and removing water damaged materials, quickly (within 48 hours) would help asthma sufferers more than removing and cleaning the mold after it has grown.  However, this agreement gives the Housing Authority too long (7-15 days) to handle the water intrusion, in that time period if the area remains moist/wet it will give mold the opportunity to grow.  Visit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website for more information on mold, moisture, and your home.
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