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    Re: WorkCompCentral 12.01 Group Petitions ACOEM for Transpar

    Posted by Sharon Kramer on 12/09/10

    WorkCompCentral – Group Petitions ACOEM for Review of Mold

    By Greg Jones, reporter
    December 1, 2010

    A group of physicians, attorneys and concerned citizens is
    asking the American College of Occupational and Environmental
    Medicine to allow the public to review and comment on
    proposed revisions to the college’s position paper on the
    health effects of mold exposure.

    More than 90 individuals have signed the petition, which was
    submitted to ACOEM and a number of governmental officials,
    including President Barack Obama, Health and U.S. Human
    Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Attorney General
    Eric Holder and the chairpersons and ranking members of the
    House and Senate labor committees. The petition calls for a
    two-week review period before revisions are finalized.
    “I feel almost certain that if public comment is not allowed,
    what they’re going to continue to attempt to promote is that
    moldy workplaces are not a source of injury for workers who
    were not immunocompromised prior,” said Sharon Kramer, a mold
    activist who organized the petition. “The spin in this
    document is going to be that prior healthy workers are not at
    risk from mold.”

    Kramer said the paper amounts to “aiding and abetting
    interstate insurer unfair advantage in workers’ comp claim
    handling practices,” and that it also “legitimized a
    litigation defense argument.”

    Dodd Fisher, an attorney with the Fisher Davis firm in Grosse
    Pointe, Mich., who handles toxic tort and mold exposure
    cases, said the paper is commonly cited by defense attorneys
    and courts tend to give it greater credit than they should.
    “It makes it sound like 5,000 or 6,000 doctors are backing up
    this statement, at least from the appearance of a scientific
    consensus statement,” he said. “The argument the defense
    makes is this is a universally accepted position document
    that expresses the general or universal acceptance of
    environmental physicians.”

    Kramer, Dodd and the other signatories claim that ACOEM’s
    position paper on mold wasn’t properly reviewed and isn’t
    based on scientific evidence.

    ACOEM confirmed that it is revising the 2002 position paper,
    but did not return calls asking for additional information
    about the reasons for the revisions, when the revisions will
    be finalized or who is involved in the revision process.
    The ACOEM position paper, titled “Adverse Human Health
    Effects Associated with Molds in the IndoorEnvironment,”
    relied in part on a test in which mice were exposed to a
    specific strain of mold and suffered no significant health
    effects. That test was extrapolated to reach the conclusion
    that exposure to mold will have no effects on humans.

    The paper states that exposure to mold, and specifically
    secondary metabolites they produce called mycotoxins, does
    not harm human health. It urges treating physicians to
    evaluate other possible diagnoses when a patient claims to
    suffer from a health condition caused by exposure to mold.
    Additionally, it says the possibility that mold exposure
    caused a symptom should be entertained only after all other
    possible causes are excluded “and when mold exposure is known
    to be uncommonly high.”

    The paper says mold exposure is a problem only for people
    with severely impaired immune systems, and concludes with the
    claim that “scientific evidence does not support the
    proposition that human health has been adversely affected by
    inhaled mycotoxins in home, school or office environments.”
    That conclusion is challenged by a study by the Institute of
    Medicine (IOM), published in 2004, reporting a link
    between “mold and other factors related to damp conditions in
    homes and buildings to asthma symptoms in some people with
    the chronic disorder, as well as to coughing, wheezing and
    upper respiratory tract symptoms in otherwise healthy
    people.” The IOM report does caution that there is not
    sufficient evidence to draw conclusions about other health
    implications related to mold.

    Kramer agreed that the research into the health effects of
    mold exposure is incomplete, but that doesn’t mean that there
    are no effects.

    “Absence of evidence is not the same thing as evidence of
    absence,” she said. “While it is perfectly acceptable to say
    this is plausible and more research is needed — that would be
    absence of evidence — what is not science is to take math,
    add it to a rat study and profess to prove evidence of

    The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) also looked
    into the issue in 2008 and determined that additional
    research was necessary, but that there was some evidence to
    link adverse health effects with exposure to mold.
    Dodd, the Grosse Pointe attorney who also teaches a toxic
    torts class at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law,
    said his concern is for attorneys and clients unaware of all
    the articles criticizing the ACOEM paper. Without knowing
    about the alleged deficiencies, an attorney will have a hard
    time overcoming the apparent weight of themold statement, he

    The International Journal of Occupational and Environmental
    Health and Wall Street Journal published articles critical of
    the ACOEM mold statement, which Dodd says has helped his

    “Since the Wall Street Journal article and since the IJOEH
    articles, it’s not as difficult for me to deal with the
    issues, but if you’re a litigator and you don’t have the
    information I have to combat that position statement, you’re
    going to have a very difficult time addressing the court,” he

    The articles questioned the use of Bruce Kelman and Bryan
    Hardin to author the ACOEM paper, because they were
    toxicologists and defense witnesses who testified that there
    was no health effect caused by exposure to mold.
    Additionally, ACOEM was criticized for not disclosing this

    The Wall Street Journal article, published in September 2007,
    notes that Ted Guidotti, president of ACOEM at the time, said
    there was no need to disclose that information because doing
    so would suggest that the paper expressed Hardin and Kelman’s
    position rather than a consensus opinion of the organization.
    Hardin and Kelman now work for Washington-based Veritox, an
    expert witness and toxicology consulting company. Calls to
    Veritox were not returned.

    The company went by the name GlobalTox before it was called

    In an article in the International Journal of Occupational
    and Environmental Health, Dr. James Craner, a boardcertified
    occupational and environmental medicine practitioner based in
    Reno, Nev., notes that the focus of GlobalTox and its expert
    witnesses “was on dismissing mold as a toxicological hazard.”
    The article, titled, “A Critique of the ACOEM Statement on
    Mold,” published in 2008, concludes with a call for a
    transparency policy at ACOEM and a more rigorous system of
    peer review at ACOEM’s Journal of Occupational and
    Environmental Medicine, where the mold statement was first

    Craner, who is an ACOEM member, told WorkCompCentral that the
    overall tone and focus of the mold statement is incorrect and
    it should be withdrawn and completely rewritten.

    “The foundation of the writing of that paper is so corrupt
    that to quote-unquote rewrite it is almost an impossible
    task; it’s almost an insult,” he said. “Developing
    organizational guidelines and position statements needs to
    start with the constituent holders.”

    In a lawsuit against the Roswell (N.M.) Independent School
    District, the San Antonio-based law firm of Chunn, Price and
    Harris, relied on these articles as part of a motion to
    exclude or limit the testimony of an expert who relied on the
    ACOEM paper.

    David Harris, a partner with the firm, said on the morning he
    and Lonnie Chunn were expecting to argue the motion to
    exclude, the judge dismissed the case. The judge said Paige
    Taylor, the student claiming exposure, would graduate by the
    time the court could issue an order and because Taylor was
    not seeking monetary damages, the court would lack
    jurisdiction to issue an injunction in that case.

    “If I ever get on the plaintiff’s side again, I feel very
    confident that anyone who tries to rely on the ACOEM paper,
    they’re just going to be in for a world of hurt,” Harris
    said. “It’s just nonsensical the extrapolations that were

    Kramer said she does not expect ACOEM to respond to her
    petition or to calls for more transparency in the drafting of
    position papers. She said the occupational medicine field is
    conflicted because it has to balance the interest of patients
    while also limiting liability for employers and insurers.
    “One way to do that is to make the workplace safe for the
    workers so there is limited injury, but another way to do
    that is to write papers that deny the workplace is causing
    injury,” she said. “Occupational physicians sit on a fence
    and have to look at what’s in the best interest of the
    workers and the employer. With the mold statement, they fell
    off the fence.”

    The 2002 ACOEM mold paper can be viewed here:

    To read the 2008 GAO report, click here:

    To read the 2004 IOM report, click here:
    To view the letter that accompanied the petition, click here:

    END OF WorkCompCentral ARTICLE.


    Katy's Exposure Website

    Video: Integrity in Health Marketing Advocate, Sharon Kramer,
    discussing insurer fraud cost shifting scheme before the
    California Insurance Fraud Assessment Commission, November
    16, 2010

    Video: Mold Injured Worker, Tim Hack, discussing workers comp
    insurer, Covair, denial/delay of claims for San Diego County,
    Toyota of Poway injured workers before the California
    Insurance Fraud Assessment Commission, November 16, 2010

    Video: Ca Insurance Fraud Assessment Commissioners stating
    California District Attorneys’ offices have a responsibility
    to investigate insurer frauds, November 16, 2010.

    Video: How the workers comp insurer scam works with the aid
    of ACOEM, US Chamber of Commerce, the University of
    California and various government entities and agencies;
    while aiding insurer cost shifting for mold injured workers
    onto taxpayers via government funded disability programs.

    Video: ACOEM & US Chamber Mold Statement Author, Bruce
    Kelman, discussing his perjury to establish false reason for
    Kramer’s purported malice while strategically litigating to
    silence her & Kelman’s attempt to force Kramer to endorse the
    worker’s comp insurer cost shifting, “science” of ACOEM/US
    Chamber before he would cease litigating. This occurred after
    he defeated Kramer’s anti-SLAPP motion with Chair of the
    California Commission on Judicial Performance, Judith
    McConnell, turning a blind eye to Kramer’s uncontroverted
    evidence of Kelman’s perjury used to make up a false reason
    for Kramer’s purported malice.


    On 12/09/10, Sharon Kramer wrote:
    > Shared with permission from WorkCompCentral
    > Group Petitions ACOEM for Review of Mold Guidelines:
    > Top [12/01/10]
    > By Greg Jones, reporter

    Posts on this thread, including this one

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