Most respondents to the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) "insta-poll" answered yes to the question, "Is mold a significant workplace hazard?"

The final tally was 53.6 percent yes and 46.4 percent no. All visitors to the ASSE Web site,, were able to vote from September 16 to 30.

The poll was held in response to several developments:

  • Pending Congressional legislation (the U.S. Toxic Mold Safety and Protection Act of 2002);
  • Reported cases and lawsuits involving mold in homes;
  • Reported cases of mold in commercial buildings like Waikiki's Hilton Hawaiian Village's new Kalia Tower hotel rooms, an office building in New Orleans and a courthouse in Martin County, Fla.;
  • One major insurer announced last week that it was pulling out of the homeowners market in Texas, and the largest homeowner insurance company in the U.S. has eliminated coverage for mold in 33 states.

ASSE submitted comments in August to Congressman John Conyers, Jr. on H.R. 5040, the U.S. Toxic Mold Safety and Protection Act of 2002, urging him to add language to the bill stating that certified occupational safety, health and environmental professionals be included in the type of professionals that can perform mold inspections, remediation and planning.

ASSE also stated a need for scientific research on the link between mold and health and to address requirements for education in the recognition, evaluation and control of mold-related problems.