Jun 10, 2012 3:34 PM
PHOENIX (AP) - Hoarders. Pack Rats. Junk Collectors. Call them whatever you want, but authorities call them dangerous.
The chairwoman of the Arizona Hoarding Task Force, Linda Buscemi, says the dangers go beyond those posed to first responders in a fire.
A frail, elderly person can literally be buried under their possessions if for instance a stack of food cans or newspapers fell over on them.
Other health dangers to the homeowner and his or her neighbors include rodent or insect infestations.
Buscemi tell The Arizona Republic that she wants the state Legislature to pass laws forcing hoarders to get mental health treatment, like authorities force convicted drunk drivers to get alcohol-abuse counseling.
Mental-health experts say there have always been people who hoard things for various reasons, primarily because of psychological illness.