Toxic Mold -- Wall Street Journal Uncovers Medical Association's Alleged Conflicts of Interest -- Advocacy Groups Call for Senate Investigation
After years of working together to enlighten the public of the serious illnesses caused by mold, advocacy groups are thankful to the Wall Street Journal for bringing the matter to greater light. Upon completing a six month investigation, veteran Wall Street Journal reporter, David Armstrong, wrote of the leaders of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, ACOEM, permitting a litigation defense corporation, Veritox Inc (aka GlobalTox Inc) to author the association's policy paper regarding mold induced illnesses. The two Veritox authors were not prior members of the physician trade association. They are not physicians.
Highly unlikely at best, even among the most vulnerable of subpopulations
The Wall Street Journal article, Page One, January 9, 2007. "Amid Mold Suits, Experts Wear Two Hats"
But the EPA and the Institute of Medicine, Damp Indoor Spaces Committee, have both identified the technique used by ACOEM to make the key conclusion, as non-acceptable methodology for determining existence or absence of human illness from indoor mold toxin exposure. The finding represents an affront to anyone with rudimentary logic skills. It is a complete non sequitur, where the premise does not support the conclusion.
Since the ACOEM mold paper's publication in November of 2002, it has saved worker's compensation insurers, property insurers, general liability insurers and building stakeholders, hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars. Insurance industry surrogates - the paid witnesses - including some ACOEM members themselves - and the lawyers, have earned millions in fees. Of more importance, the sick receive no medical treatment and no compensation for devastated lives and financial ruin.
ACOEM is a medical trade association made up of approximately 7000 physicians. The organization writes evidence based protocol for the treatment of injured workers under the platform of Workers Comp Reform. Several of their evidence based conclusions are currently being used to determine what illnesses and injuries will and will not be treated and/or covered under workers compensation insurance guidelines.
In California, under State Senate Bill 889, ACOEM evidence based guidelines are also known as Medical Treatment Utilization Schedules, MTUS, and are the law that physicians must follow when determining treatment for their patients. ACOEM affiliated clinics, American Occupational and Environmental Clinics, are government funded through the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry and a branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health. (NIOSH).
The article points out several members of ACOEM serve as experts for the defense in mold litigation. They promote the legitimacy of the mold policy paper while billing as much as $700 per hour. The US Chamber of Commerce has promoted the document throughout industry by trumpeting it as scientific proof that serious mold induced illnesses are merely a result of "trial lawyers", "media reports" and "Junk Science".
When interviewed for the WSJ article, Dr. Jonathan Borak, overseer of the mold policy peer review process, indicated he was unaware the authors had conflicted interests. Yet, within the subpoenaed documents referenced within the WSJ article, was an email authored by him in Sept, 2002, Dr. Borak acknowledged he was aware the paper would have "currency in other ways and other places" for the authors. The email also referenced concern that the ACOEM mold paper was a "defense argument" that would be turned into "garbage" if rejected by the Board of Directors.
Although reported to exist, the mold policy paper authors' conflict disclosure statements were never made available to the members of ACOEM, even when requested. Within the subpoenaed emails referenced within the WSJ article, was one written in 2003. An ACOEM member wrote, "Related to this topic, some weeks ago many of us on the list were anticipating the conflict of interest statements from the JOEM [Journal of ACOEM in regard to the authors of the 'Mold Statement' adopted by the ACOEM. It seems they got lost in the mail. This question arises if this is just an oversight, or if such a disclosure of conflicts is purposeful, as many of us who are members of ACOEM who actually see patients with mold exposure were excluded from the discussion."
Needless to say, consumer, worker, health and environmental advocacy groups are calling for a senate investigation and will be on the Hill this week requesting the investigation.
Mycotic Disease Awareness
I thank Sharon Kramer allowing me to use the above article. All victims of toxic mold appreciate her total dedication to this serious health issue. It's time for America to know the truth. I hope you all take the time to see how important it is to get the facts out there.
Me and my husband are victims of mold induced illnesses. Before our diagnosis, we had no idea how many people are losing their health, homes, and even careers due to mold infested buildings. If anyone had told me of all the human suffering or the deception being put on the American public, I would not have believed it. However, through our tragedy, our eyes have been opened to a much bigger picture. ( I thank God and Sickbuildings Yahoo Group for that).
My focus is the illness and getting help for ALL victims. I share our story because I want the public to be aware how serious this illness is. It's much more than an allergy. It's a sad and painful REALITY! There is also no doubt of the fact that we were severe poisoned from mycotoxins produced in our rental home. After reading this page, please look closely at the photos. Think about it. Look up the word trichothecene for yourself. Which face is the face of truth? Look at these photos. Put two and two together. It's so obvious!
I am also posting some information on trichothecene - a known agent of biowarfare produced from mold/fungi. This came from the CDC website. This is a highly toxic agent and the health effects are devastating. (listed after the photos)..
This past week was Masters in Augusta, Ga.. To all those who deny our illness having validity or the fact that it took place as a result of this toxic home...it would have been the perfect opportunity for you to visit a brick home in Harlem, Ga. where you could have stayed a few nights. The vapors of trichothecene should be no cause for concern, right? No need for a hazmat suit, correct? Phil Urban - Grange Mutual? Medical College of Ga.? Dr. Green Shepherd in Emergency Medicine? The list goes on...and on....
In reality, YOU know and I know..none of you would stay in this home. Even a second grader could read about trichothecene and know it can KILL you. Sometimes, I do wish those who treat us this way could just feel our pain and great loss for 24 hrs. I don't think you'd last that long. Not when it feels like chemical agents have been sprayed directly in your face, eyes and organs; not when you have lost all and have nowhere to turn for help but God.
But I would not wish this pain on anyone. I only hope someone will learn from this. As far as research being done - who better learn from than the victims? We truly and genuinely want lives to be saved by what you can observe in us and others like us. We CARE!
As far the paper mentioned above. Your statements are WRONG! In our case, we have solid evidence to prove our diagnosis. From an environmental standpoint alone - there were serious indoor mold problems with stachybotrys, aspergillus, penicillium, chaetomium, trichoderma, fusarium, cladosporium and others found in the toxic home.
Above and beyond that - there are very toxic amounts of the actual poison - trichothecene - in the walls of this home. It was produced from molds - it is a known toxic agent! So the massive exposure is not even in question. And I ask you - HOW can you tell me this did not happen when we were inhaling, ingesting and absorbing massive amounts of a known toxin? How? I publicly ask you - Prove to me this did NOT happen. You cannot do it!
Medically speaking, we not only have high antibodies against these very same molds-mycotoxins..but we have genetic testing by pcr..showing a serious systemic infection in both blood and lung secretions of both aspergillus and stachybotrys. If that's not enough, I have a pathology report showing advanced poisoning of my body by the POISON found in home - trichothecene!
I even have entire photos albums of the visible injuries from these toxic vapors. The burning, redness, blisters, oral exposure are very obvious in photos below. You can also see the contortions to my face as these toxins attacked my central nervous system. They had to be very potent - as this was outdoors - just being near our belongings. The naseau, vomiting, low blood pressure, interstitial lung disease and pain are just as real. These are just a few of the bizarre and horrifying things experienced.
Those in a position to help people who are very ill from these mycotoxins are inflicting their abuse. This appears to be based on power and greed. None of us did this to ourselves. We are innocent victims who need medical help. Many of us also lost our homes and even possessions. Junk papers like the one in question play a big role in us not getting medical care. How can this be? Health care should take precedence. What are we once we lose our health? How many children, Veterans, Katrina survivors, workers and people in their homes must suffer this way?
As far as the liable parties - in our case Grange Insurance and a landlord? - you should be ashamed of yourself. How can any insurance company represent themselves to the American public as being reputable and treat another human being this way? To conceal life-saving information from an injured party is bad enough; to lie to them is even worse; but to allow them to lose everything and not help them get proper medical care; that should be criminal! You know fully well this is wrong!
For a child (or ANYONE) to remain in a home with trichothecene wreaking havoc, along with the dangerous molds....I am very concerned about the lack of concern.
At this point in our lives we've been pushed; rejected; laughed at; ignored and mistreated just a little too long. What else can be taken from us? The easy thing for us to do would be just remain silent and try to survive the best way we can. NO..I see entirely too much suffering and this is not acceptable. I will tell my story and the stories of victims all aver the US. Even if it only saves one innocent person from such a devastating illness - it's worth it.
I will not give up nor be silenced. I plan on living my life to the fullest; following my dreams and accomplishing my goals. I had no idea I would ever be fighting this battle. But when I see what is going on..I have no choice. I was taught to stand up for what you believe in - even if you stand alone.
I'll supply documentation to anything I've stated. I know the truth. I see it every time I look into a mirror. Only the truth shall set us free. It's time to break the mold!
From CDC website:
Trichothecene mycotoxins might be weaponized and dispersed through the air or mixed in food or beverages. Initially, route-specific effects are typically prominent. Dermal exposure leads to burning pain, redness, and blisters, and oral exposure leads to vomiting and diarrhea. Ocular exposure might result in blurred vision, and inhalational exposure might cause nasal irritation and cough. Systemic symptoms can develop with all routes of exposure and might include weakness, ataxia, hypotension, coagulopathy, and death (1).
Suspected: A case in which a potentially exposed person is being evaluated by health-care workers or public health officials for poisoning by a particular chemical agent, but no specific credible threat exists.
Probable: A clinically compatible case in which a high index of suspicion (credible threat or patient history regarding location and time) exists for trichothecene mycotoxins exposure, or an epidemiologic link exists between this case and a laboratory-confirmed case.
Confirmed: A clinically compatible case in which laboratory tests of environmental samples have confirmed exposure.
The case can be confirmed if laboratory testing was not performed because either a predominant amount of clinical and nonspecific laboratory evidence of a particular chemical was present or a 100% certainty of the etiology of the agent is known.
We're fighting wars in foreign lands to protect and keep us free
From the threat of mass destruction - health, home and family
While right here in America - like the Battle of New Orleans
A lethal weapon's on the loose - taking lives and stealing dreams
We need an act of Congress to educate and make aware
Give hope to helpless people facing darkness and despair
HELP VICTIMS OF TOXIC MOLD...Iris