Monday, April 27, 2009

Toxic Mold - Your Health and The Law

With the rise in million dollar toxic mold lawsuits against home builders and landlords, more people are becoming aware of the dangers of suspected mold that may lurk in their homes or apartments that may eventually end up in their lungs.

Although the US Centers for Disease control and Prevention have yet to establish links between mold and health problems, the medical establishment has at least conceded to possible adverse effects from toxic mold by people with allergies or suppressed immune systems.

Strong anectodal evidence, meanwhile, continues to link common illnesses or symptoms in otherwise healthy people who live in homes where toxic mold is discovered. These include milder cases of wheezing and coughing to more serious cases of asthma, chronic sinusitis, and respiratory infections.

Right now there is no federal law governing the limits of exposure to household mold, although there have been several states that have enacted legislation - California, Indiana, Maryand, New Jersey and Texas among them, as well as local city ordinances such as in New York City and San Francisco that classify toxic mold under department of health violations.

What You Can Do about Toxic Mold

The health solution to toxic mold seems fairly straitforward. Simply get rid of toxic mold by washing all effected surfaces with bleach or other cleaning products. 

However, if the causes of mold - such as leaky pipes, infected wallboard or ventilation systems continues - then renters need to call their landlord for repairs. Renters may try to force  negligent landlords to solve the problem by calling a local city agency or health department. Otherwise, bringing the landlord to court may be their only recourse.

Homeowners who can point to a negligent contractor or defective building materials (or a previous homeowner who did not disclose the problem), may either have recourse to collect from their insurance policy or a full-fleged suing case against those responsible.

Whether your a renter or owner, evidence that you tried to "remediate" or solve the problem yourself needs to be fully documented, by photo evidence as well as hard copies of medical expenses, and bills for cleanup, repairs or replacement of ruined clothing or damaged household items. If a lawsuit is your only recourse, be sure to hire an attorney that specializes in personal injury or experience in toxic mold cases. They can more effectively fight your case in the courts, or successfully negotiate with insurance companies increasingly reluctant to cover costs of toxic mold damages. 

More about toxic mold around the Web:

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