Healthy Indoors Magazine - USA Edition

HI December 2021 - USA Edition

Healthy Indoors Magazine

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Healthy Indoors | 17 M elinda Ballard. Pam Walker. Erin Brockov- ich. Shemane Nugent. Sharon Kramer. Erik Johnson. Elaine Kelly. Shelley Federico. Lisa Petrison. Bryan Rosner. Bernice Polansky. I could list mold health advo- cates all day long. These names are just a few. Some I've met in person. Others I've talked to on the phone for hours. Some are still around. Some have moved on. Others are watching over us. All were once "ordinary" folks who had their home/work- place and health affected by mold. All became an advocate to tell their mold story out in their world. It's these stories that has allowed for better tools, testing, remediation, and information to be circulated for more than two decades. Add another name, Brandon Chappo. I just recently met him via video. He's young, bright, and well-spoken. He's a voracious reader and researcher. You can see him being interviewed on a nightly news program and knocking it out of the park. His story is about mold in a water-damaged apartment, but he's keen to expand that story to include the importance of healthy indoor environments. He took his story to his state representa- tives in Ohio to create legislation to establish an indoor mold ed- ucation and awareness program through the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). Ohio State Representatives Joe Miller (D-Am- herst) and Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) introduced House Bill (HB) 251 – the Ohio Indoor Safe Air Act earlier this year. The bill, currently in the House Health Committee, would specifically: • Require the Director of Health to establish a mold information and awareness program to assist the public in understanding the threat of mold in damp and water-damaged buildings, while also recommend- ing resources for identification and remediation; • Require a person or public entity selling, trans- ferring, or renting out a property to disclose the presence of mold with reasonable cause; • Require ODH to review technology or treatment techniques for mold identification and remediation in the interest of public health and safety every five years; • Require ODH to provide educational information on the health effects of mold via brochures and the ODH website, similar to how lead and radon are currently treated; • Perform ODH studies for any adverse ef- fects to humans from exposure to mold in damp and water-damaged buildings. "This legislation is intended to do one thing — protect the public health and safety of Ohioans through education and awareness. Toxic mold is often an overlooked issue that can lead to chronic respiratory illnesses, such as asthma. A 2007 EPA re- port concluded that mold in indoor environments was the direct cause of 4.6 million cases of asthma in the United States. This is an issue that can impact the health of all Ohioans but is entirely preventable and treatable. Toxic mold needs to be addressed similarly to the caution surrounding the presence of lead, radon and asbestos," said Rep. Miller. "Research clearly demon- strates a correlation between exposure to toxic mold and increased health and respi- ratory issues, especially in children," said Rep. Russo. "We as legislators have an obligation to ensure that every Ohio resident is aware of the health effects of unmitigated mold contamination. By introducing the Ohio Indoor Safe Act, we can educate Ohioans on what to look for, work towards safer air conditions, and improve health outcomes." This is no "Melina bill." (Melina's bill was intended as a federal mold law that took on education, investigation, and remedi- ation.) HB 251 is intentionally small and tight. Chappo hopes that will be the key to its passage, as well as creating a template that can be replicated in statehouses throughout the U.S. You can check out his advocacy efforts on the Facebook's Toxic Mold Support Group at groups/116659898371180/permalink/4388812937822500. You'll be hearing a lot more about the Chappo in 2022. Not only in the legislation arena, but in the foundation and media areas as well. Bob Krell and I did a video interview with Chappo which will be released next month. Some vid- eo clips are included in this article. He also answered some of our questions for a print interview that follows here: Healthy Indoors: Tell us your mold story. When did it start? What happened? Was it ever resolved? Brandon Chappo: My mold story began in August 2019 with the onset of serious and unusual symptoms that I had previously never experienced. I had moved (alone) into the lower unit of a renovated apartment home in Cleveland that had been "flipped" a few years before- hand. What I didn't realize was the amount of constant moisture and water-damaged that was persistent in the basement, where the HVAC units were located. My symptoms began with the development of per- sistent headaches associated with dizziness. I suffered daily from severe fatigue, abnormal sleep patterns and consistent insomnia. In addition, brain fog, short-term memory loss, word recollection and a decreased ability to learn new material also presented. I experienced gastrointestinal inflammation and the

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