Austin, TX – New state laws require contractors to have training, insurance and certification to assess and remove mold. “Things have changed,” said Dr. Mani Skaria, a mycologist and plant pathologist at the Texas A&M-Kingsville Citrus Center in Weslaco. “Two years ago, there was no control. Contractors who didn’t understand or care about the biology of mold were actually making the problems worse, causing a lot of damage and increasing the health risks to the public. But the new rules have weeded them out.” Skaria worked with Texas Department of State Health Services and the Texas A&M University System to disseminate proper mold remediation techniques until the Texas Legislature acted. In 2003, state lawmakers passed House Bill 329, resulting in the Texas Mold Assessment and Remediation rules. The rules regulate mold assessment consultants and technicians and mold remediation contractors. Before they can test for mold or perform mold cleanup in a residence or building in Texas, contractors must meet certain criteria, take the required training, pass a state exam, abide by rules of ethics and be covered by insurance. No longer can unethical, unprofessionals prey on ignorant people who do not know the actual health risks they are dealing with in abating some hazardous household molds.
Sorting the “Good” from the “Bad”
Bobby Garcia, owner of Bio-Tech Solutions Inc. of Edinburg, said the regulations have made a very positive difference. “We used to have lots of what I call carpetbaggers or fly-by-nighters who did hatchet jobs on people’s homes and businesses because they had no basic training,” said Garcia. “They were undertrained and overpriced…They were actually doing more harm than good.” Some people became more ill after these remediation jobs and could not prove that it was these dangerous molds that were in fact making them sick.
Since the new rules went into effect, the number of mold remediation contractors in the Lower Rio Grande Valley has dropped from 50 or 60 to just a handful of licensed businesses, Garcia said. “The new state rules are like the bible of mold assessment and removal,” said Garcia. “The rules call for a required protocol that is now almost identical to the process of asbestos removal. It’s very strict.” The rules call for a system of checks and balances. Consultants and contractors sign certification attesting that mold was properly and completely removed. Valente Alaniz, owner of Ace Mold Remediation and Ace Builders of McAllen, said the new state rules have made the mold assessment and removal business more professional. “Having to get licensed and having to carry $1 million dollars in liability insurance eliminated many unprofessional people,” said Alaniz. “Here in the Valley, I’d say we’re down to five or six mold remediators and less than a dozen people who do assessment. But things were so out of control, the state really had no choice but to intervene.”
Skaria maintains homeowners and others should watch for mold and eliminate it early to keep it from spreading. “Remove it when it’s a small problem because mold grows and it gets spread passively by people, insects and mites,” said Skaria Texas is the forerunner in solving a common problem that is happening nationwide; unqualified mold remediation businesses doing shoddy workmanship on homes which is causing a chain of problems. Nationwide legislation is really needed to stop this consumer nightmare from happening to unsuspecting citizens and to administer a national protocol of standards.
How MH Has Decided to Help
In light of the rising amount of consumer complaints, Mold-Help will be soon rolling out a revolutionary new rating program to assist consumers in finding qualified and ethical testing, remediation professionals in their locale, as well as other products and services. We will be using an independent lab to conduct in depth testing, running rigid background checks, and rating products and services that will make it much easier for consumers to find quality products and professional services.
Anyone interested in being considered for this new program who is either a certified tester, remediator, or who has a product that works against mold growth, please complete this information form and we will contact you about inclusion in our database.