According to the September 30, 2008 report issued by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), the scope and purpose of the Federal Interagency Committee on Indoor Air Quality (CIAQ) and the Mold Work Group is as follows:
“The Federal Interagency Committee on Indoor Air Quality could provide a structured mechanism for coordinating research activities on mold and other indoor air issues by, for example, serving as a forum for reviewing and prioritizing agencies' ongoing and planned research. However, it currently does not do so.
Despite limitations of scientific evidence regarding a number of potential health effects of exposure to indoor mold, enough is known that federal agencies have issued guidance to the general public about health risks associated with exposure to indoor mold and how to minimize mold growth and mitigate exposure. For example, guidance issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, EPA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, HHS, and HUD cites a variety of health effects of exposure to indoor mold but in some cases omits less common but serious effects.
Moreover, while guidance on minimizing indoor mold growth is generally consistent, guidance on mitigating exposure to indoor mold is sometimes inconsistent about cleanup agents, protective clothing and equipment, and sensitive populations.
As a result, the public may not be sufficiently advised of indoor mold's potential health risks.”
GAO Report, Recommendation #1:
“The Administrator, EPA, should use the Federal Interagency Committee on Indoor Air Quality to help articulate and guide research priorities on indoor mold across relevant federal agencies, coordinate information sharing on ongoing and planned research activities among agencies, and provide information to the public on ongoing research activities to better ensure that federal research on the health effects of exposure to indoor mold is effectively addressing research needs and efficiently using scarce federal resources.”
GAO Report, Recommendation #2:
“The Administrator, EPA, should use the Federal Interagency Committee on Indoor Air Quality to help relevant agencies review their existing guidance to the public on indoor mold--considering the audience and purpose of the guidance documents--to better ensure that it sufficiently alerts the public, especially vulnerable populations, about the potential adverse health effects of exposure to indoor mold and educates them on how to minimize exposure in homes. The reviews should take into account the best available information and ensure that the guidance does not conflict among agencies.”