Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Science on Mold and Potential Bias from Consulting

Article in the Wall Street Journal -- Amid Suits Over Mold, Experts Wear Two Hats: Authors of Science Paper Often Cited by Defense Also Help in Litigation, by David Armstrong:

Soon after moving into a New York City apartment, Colin and Pamela Fraser say, they began to suffer headaches, rashes, respiratory infections and fatigue. They attributed it to mold.

But their lawsuit against the cooperative that owns the building hit a roadblock when the court wouldn't let their medical expert testify that mold caused their problems. This is "unsupported by the scientific literature," the state trial judge said.

She relied in part on a position paper from the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, or ACOEM. Citing a substance some molds produce called mycotoxins, the paper said "scientific evidence does not support the proposition that human health has been adversely affected by inhaled mycotoxins in the home, school, or office environment."

The paper has become a key defense tool wielded by builders, landlords and insurers in litigation. It has also been used to assuage fears of parents following discovery of mold in schools. One point that rarely emerges in these cases: The paper was written by people who regularly are paid experts for the defense side in mold litigation.

The ACOEM doesn't disclose this, nor did its paper. The professional society's president, Tee Guidotti, says no disclosure is needed because the paper represents the consensus of its membership and is a statement from the society, not the individual authors.


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The ACOEM is deliberately ignoring the years of research done by the military on mycotoxins in biological warfare, as well as the results of studies in many other disciplines over the last few years that offer a web of interlocking facts that show that mold illness is very real. For example, if you do a search for "trichothecene mycotoxins" "Chapter 34" you will find a chart that shows that inhalational toxicity of the trichothecene mycotoxin T-2 toxin is five to twenty times stronger when inhaled than ingested or dermally absorbed. That ratio is not atypical for studies of inhalational toxicity of mycotoxins. Inhalation route is very toxic. And these are for isolated single toxins, damp buildings typically have many diffferent kinds of molds growing at the same time. Something they never consider. New toxic products of fungi are being discovered all the time. There is MUCH we don't know.

Also, damp buildings often contain high levels of bacterial endotoxins like lipopolysaccharides which have been shown to dramatically potentiate the effects of many mycotoxins. Common molds also produce high amounts of ergot alkaloids similar to LSD which are also very powerful. Especially when they grow on latex paint. This has only recently been discovered.

Of course, this was never mentioned.

We aren't stupid, but the ACOEM's approach seems to assume we are. They are not acting like scientists so much as acting like children who think that by screaming louder they will always get their way.

Posted by: Emmett Lo | Feb 11, 2007 11:51:25 AM

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