The nature of mold contamination and subsequent remediation (sometimes also referred to as "restoration") requires adherence to consistent techniques and protocols to successfully and effectively restore a structure for human occupancy. Until recently, the qualifications and role of the Indoor Environmental Professional (IEP) in this process were fluid. Recent guidance documents and standards now provide some structure and clarity to the IEP's contribution to successful mold remediation. Litigation has also elevated the standard of care for all parties involved with mold remediation.
This paper provides perspectives on the role of the IEP in mold remediation, with particular emphasis on the IEP's responsibility to bring clarity from complex issues due to the lack of definitive criteria for performing pre- and post-remediation activities.
Published minimum qualifications and professional competencies have become more widespread as the issue of mold remediation and the broader spectrum of indoor air quality has gained prominence. Sound professional judgment is necessary as there is no current regulation of mold. This is due to the numerous and complex issues involved in establishing causal relationships between exposure and health response. Various states have passed, or have attempted to promulgate legislation governing the qualifications and activities of mold assessors and the companies for whom they work, as well as remediation companies. Some states have initiated studies of the health effects of mold toxicity and have established criteria under which damages may be sought with respect to mold exposure. The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) and Aerotech Laboratories Inc. (Aerotech(b)) maintain useful web sites for monitoring the progress of mold legislation at the state level, and the outcomes of selected litigation involving damages due to mold.
Organizations such as the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA 2001, 2004) and more recently the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) have published criteria that describe qualifications, competencies, and assessment methods. The International Environmental Standards Organization (IESO) also published standards for performing mold testing. The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) is in the process of developing their own standard.
The IICRC (2003) states that "The role of an IEP is to perform an assessment of the fungal ecology of property, systems and contents at the job site, create a sampling strategy, sample the indoor environment, interpret laboratory data and determine Condition 1, 2 and 3 status for the purpose of establishing a scope of work (pre-remediation assessment) and/or when necessary to verify the return to normal fungal ecology."