AMERICAN SOCIETY OF
SAFETY ENGINEERS

1800 East Oakton Street
Des Plaines, Illinois 60018-2187
847.699.2929
FAX 847.296.3769
www.asse.org

April 2, 2004

Senator J. Kalani English
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 205
415 South Beretania Street
Honolulu, HI 96813

By email: kalani@kalanienglish.com

RE: Including Appropriate Safety, Health and Environmental Professionals in SB 3160

Dear Senator English:

The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) is an international organization that represents more than 30,000 safety, health and environmental (SH+E) professionals dedicated to workplace safety and health. Of those 30,000 members, more than 300 work and live in Hawaii. ASSE's members are committed to seeing that every American worker has the best possible opportunity to go home healthy and safe from their jobs. As the enclosed fact sheet indicates, ASSE is the largest professional occupational safety and health organization and, founded in 1911, has been in existence by far the longest.

On behalf of our members in Hawaii, ASSE is writing to ask respectfully that your bill, SB 3160, be amended to include a more appropriate representation of SH+E practitioners. ASSE's concern is that the bill, as written, unnecessarily limits the list of "authoritative bodies" in Section 1 that are "recognized national or international entities with expertise on public health, mold identification and remediation" to two SH+E organizations that represent largely only one type of SH+E professional. The professional associations listed in the bill -- the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists and the American Industrial Hygiene Association -- represent mostly Certified Industrial Hygienists (CIHs) when, in fact, a variety of other SH+E professionals also have the training and experience to provide expertise on mold issues.

Not including a wider representation of SH+E professionals through the organizations that represent them limits the expertise and resources that will be available to the Department of Health and the Hawaii legislature in determining the best approaches to dealing with mold and determining whether health risks exist. This limitation also leaves open the possibility that one SH+E designation may be given economic favor over others in the way Hawaii ultimately decides to address the mold issue.

ASSE's members include many CIHs and our Industrial Hygiene Practice Specialty is one of the fastest growing areas of ASSE membership. But, CIHs are not the only SH+E practitioners capable of managing mold analysis and remediation. In fact, the CIH designation - or any SH+E designation, for that matter -- in and of itself does not make an individual capable of doing such work. That capability comes from the unique experience and training that a variety of SH+E practitioners have.

Legislators like you who are leading the mold effort in other states have recognized this and made necessary changes to their bills (with relevant portions of the bills included in a separate document accompanying this letter):

  • In New York this year, an amended version of a mold task force bill that mirrors SB 3160 by Senator Marcellino (SB 896) included ASSE as an authority on mold;
  • In Florida, ASSE and its members are recognized in a mold practitioner registration bill (HB 1215) introduced this year by Representative Domino. ASSE is included as an organization qualified to set eligibility requirements for mold practitioners; and
  • In Illinois last year, a resolution (House Joint Resolution 12) was adopted by the Legislature establishing a Joint Task Force on Mold in Indoor Environments that, at ASSE's request, was expanded to include not only CIHs but also accredited certified safety, health, and environment professionals, which are included in ASSE's membership.

We commend you for your leadership in tackling this difficult issue. A mold advisory board could help bring reason to what has been an emotionally charged issue. Though ASSE takes no overall position on your bill, we caution you on requiring standards for assessing health threats due to mold to be set at this time. Enclosed is an ASSE position statement on mold as it concerns occupational safety and health that reflects the most anyone can say about the health risks posed by mold at this time. Science simply does not know enough yet to be able to determine permissible exposure limits, and, without more research, it is difficult to predict when it will.

Thank you for your consideration of our request. We are certain that the amendment will help ensure that the best possible professional resources are made available to the task force. If ASSE and its members in Hawaii can be of any assistance to you as you deal with this challenging issue, we encourage you to call on us.

Sincerely,

James "Skipper" Kendrick, CSP
President

 

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