This federal bill will establish improved standards for residential buildings to protect against mold, poor indoor air quality, and the significant health and safety risks incurred from exposure.
TAMPA, Fla., Sept. 19, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Change the Air Foundation, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to improving health by addressing poor indoor air quality, announces its endorsement of today’s proposed Federal legislation, the Healthy at Home Act of 2023. This is a vital first “cornerstone” bill to tackle a nationwide health crisis head-on. Currently, there are no indoor air quality and mold regulations at the federal level.
Championed by Conn. Congressman Joe Courtney and Conn. Senator Richard Blumenthal, the Healthy at Home Act of 2023 seeks to address the current insufficiency of nationwide standards to properly protect residents from harmful exposures to poor indoor air quality. This will be the first bill regarding mold and indoor air quality to be proposed since 2005.
This movement to address indoor air quality standards is the result of the tireless efforts of a group of residents at Branford Manor, an apartment complex in Groton, Conn. For years, residents, many of whom are families with children, have been displaced and experienced physical illnesses and injuries due to unsafe living conditions caused by mold. Their demands for action to handle this public health crisis and reparations for the unacceptable standard of living helped spark this needed push for widespread reform.
Unfortunately, their situation is not unique. A US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) survey found nearly 50% of buildings were experiencing ongoing problems with leaks causing water damage. Furthermore, the EPA estimates that concentrations of some pollutants in an indoor environment are often 2 to 5 times (in some cases up to 100 times) higher than outdoor concentrations.
Recognizing the importance of ensuring the bill’s success, Change the Air Foundation worked closely with these Congressional offices to ensure the Healthy at Home Act would provide the research, standard-setting, accountability, financial support, and education for tenants that will improve the health, safety, and overall habitability of our country’s housing.
“The serious impact of mold and water damage on Americans’ health has been overlooked for too long. Exposure to these unhealthy environments can cause significant physical, emotional, and financial hardship to those living within them,” said Brandon Chappo, Director of Public Policy, Change the Air Foundation. “It’s time to put mold on the same playing field as lead, asbestos, and radon and give it the attention it deserves.”
Specifically, the bill would:
- provide federal funding to support building owners as they seek to make the changes needed to improve a building’s safety for tenants;
- create urgently needed research and standard-setting on indoor mold to protect human health;
- create minimum housing stock quality requirements for HUD-assisted housing;
- create an education campaign for tenants and landlords to reduce health and safety risks;
- require HUD to advertise and fully staff HUD’s existing tenant hotline; and
- incentivize states to disclose health and safety concerns in a building to future residents.
The Change the Air Foundation acted as an instrumental voice in adding further research efforts to the proposed bill. Current research is severely lacking on the serious health impacts caused by exposure to poor indoor air quality and mold. Change is necessary to protect and improve the quality of life for citizens nationwide.
“The average person breathes in 20,000 breaths per day and spends on average 90% of their daily time indoors. This overlooked factor of health must be better understood and addressed so that individuals live longer and healthier lives by breathing safe indoor air.” – Michael Rubino, Chair and Co-Founder, Change the Air Foundation.
For more information on the Change the Air Foundation’s efforts to provide individuals with the support needed to achieve better health by improving indoor air, visit https://changetheairfoundation.org/.
About Change the Air:
Change the Air Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded by a group of passionate air quality professionals and advocates aiming to give every person the knowledge, resources, and support to achieve better health by breathing safe indoor air. The Foundation addresses this hidden epidemic of poor indoor air quality through three main initiatives: education, policy reform, and research. Change the Air believes safe indoor air is a basic human right.
SOURCE Change the Air Foundation