Mold is a fungus, and it lives in the natural environment. In nature, mold plays an important role in breaking down and digesting dead material. Mold produces spores that float through the indoor and outdoor air to find a damp spot to settle. Mold can grow on almost any organic material provided oxygen and water are present.
If an area of your home is damp or you have leaks or flooding, mold may begin to grow. When mold grows uncontrolled indoors, it can degrade building materials and furniture, and may cause health problems. Indoor mold can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs, may cause allergic reactions and trigger asthma attacks in some individuals, and may lead to infections in people with weakened immune systems.
The best way to prevent mold growth is to control moisture indoors. However, where mold has already grown, it is important to take precautions to protect human health. The new District of Columbia Mold Assessment and Remediation Regulations specify requirements for when mold in indoor rental properties must be addressed, as well as how to do so. These regulations establish a licensing program for mold assessment and remediation professionals who perform work in the District of Columbia. There are three main components to the mold regulations:
- If there is at least ten square feet of indoor mold growth in a residential area with tenants, all assessment and remediation must be performed or supervised by a mold professional who is licensed by DOEE.
- No person holding themselves out as a mold professional may assess or remediate mold without the corresponding license from the DOEE. To be considered for a license, an individual must meet several requirements, including passing a DOEE-approved exam. Each license is valid for two years.
- All licensed mold professionals must notify DOEE of all projects in accordance with the regulations, and follow performance standards and work practices required by the regulations. More information about the requirements mold professionals must adhere to can be found in the Licensing section below.
If the area of mold growth is less than ten square feet, a license is not necessary to inspect or remove mold. However, with limited exceptions, a home owner must follow DOEE guidance when inspecting and removing mold in these cases. Dormitories, hotels, and other places that offer short period lodging are not included under this law. Additionally, home-owners do not need a license to inspect and/or remove mold if their home is not occupied by a tenant.
A guidance document for assessing and remediating mold in these cases can be found as an attachment at the bottom of this page.
Mold Licensing & Application
All individuals interested in obtaining a professional mold assessment or remediation license must apply to DOEE. Read More>>
Requirements and Standards for Licensed Mold Professionals
Licensed professionals may only perform services they are licensed to conduct. Read More>>
DOEE will first assist District mold professionals in becoming licensed through outreach and education. After the period of compliance assistance has ended (August 2017), DOEE may issue fines to unlicensed individuals who act as a professional mold assessor or mold remediator and licensees who violate District laws or regulations.
List of DOEE-Licensed Mold Professionals
Where can I read more about mold?
Many federal agencies have information about mold and mold remediation. An abbreviated list can be found below:
Environmental Protection Agency
- Mold Website- Includes basic and more advanced mold information.
- Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings
- A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home
Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
- Mold Website- Includes information on exposure, remediation, and related literature.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
- Mold Fact Sheet
- Preventing Mold-Related Problems in the Indoor Workplace: A Guide for Building Owners, Managers and Occupants
- A Brief Guide to Mold in the Workplace
Also, feel free to learn more about how to create and maintain a Healthy Home by visiting the District of Columbia’s Healthy Homes website.