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    Re: Wall Street Journal "False Witness"

    Posted by WrinkleyOldLady on 1/04/07

    Sharon, you go girl! I missed the original article but your
    rebuttal is terrific. Did they print it? I hope so. It is
    one thing to sit on the fence about whether one accepts the
    mold-health connection due to conflicting info. But it is
    quite another to state that there is no connection. That is
    just plain disinformation, and I hope thousands of people
    made sick by mold blasted them for it.


    On 12/03/06, Sharon Kramer wrote:
    > "according to the American College of Occupational and
    > Environmental Medicine, current scientific evidence does
    > not support the proposition that molds or the mycotoxins
    > produced by molds, whether inhaled in home, school, or
    > office environments, adversely affect human health"
    >
    > Wall Street Journal
    > False Witness
    > By LESTER BRICKMAN
    > December 2, 2006; Page A9
    >
    > Last year, in a shot heard round the mass tort world, U.S.
    > District Court Judge Janis Jack, presiding over 10,000
    > claims of silicosis -- a lung disease caused by exposure
    to
    > silica (sand) dusts, issued a report documenting
    > widespread, fraudulent medical diagnoses. The fraud was
    > discovered when Judge Jack permitted the defendants to
    > extensively question the doctors who had diagnosed the
    > alleged injuries. While this sounds like standard
    operating
    > procedure, most judges would not have permitted such
    > discovery. Indeed, the fraud would never have come to
    light
    > but for a courageous judge willing to, in effect, put the
    > tort system on trial.
    >
    > Judge Jack largely corroborated my own published findings
    > of fraudulent production of medical evidence in asbestos
    > litigation....
    >
    > Independent medical doctors find that upwards of 90&37; of
    the
    > findings of disease are in error. The doctors refuse to
    > produce subpoenaed records of all of their X-ray readings
    > or diagnoses done for the lawyers because that could
    > be "smoking gun" evidence of fraud....
    >
    > Substantially the same fraudulent practices have been used
    > in other mass tort litigations. "Fen-phen" is one
    example...
    >
    > A prominent Duke cardiologist and a panel of medical
    > experts reviewed 968 sets of echocardiograms that had
    > passed an audit procedure instituted when it became
    > apparent that thousands of bogus claims were being paid
    > millions of dollars....
    >
    > Silicone is another example. Screenings by lawyers in
    > silicone breast implant litigation ginned up tens of
    > thousands of claims of connective tissue and rheumatoid
    > diseases that were supported by the specious diagnoses of
    a
    > few dozen doctors who were mostly referred by the lawyers.
    > Cursory examinations -- sometimes in lawyers' offices
    > doubling as examining rooms...However, the National
    Academy
    > of Sciences' Institute of Medicine concluded that "there
    is
    > no evidence that silicone breast implants contribute to an
    > increase in autoimmune (connective tissue) diseases . . .
    > and [there is] no link between implants and connective
    > disease or rheumatic conditions."...
    >
    >
    > Mold litigation is still another example of a mass tort
    > infected by fraudulent medical and scientific evidence.
    > Mold is a ubiquitous fungus to which everyone is exposed;
    > according to the American College of Occupational and
    > Environmental Medicine, current scientific evidence does
    > not support the proposition that molds or the mycotoxins
    > produced by molds, whether inhaled in home, school, or
    > office environments, adversely affect human health. The
    > scientific evidence notwithstanding, mold litigation, a
    > multibillion dollar industry, proceeds because a small
    > number of experts paid fees of as much as $10,000 a day
    > have regularly testified that mold causes a terrifying
    > array of diseases from lung cancer to cirrhosis of the
    > liver.
    >
    > While there are ongoing federal investigations of silica
    > and asbestos litigation in New York and of fen-phen
    > litigation in Philadelphia, federal prosecutors have not
    > indicted the doctors and scientific experts. To prove
    fraud
    > in those cases will require the testimony of other doctors
    > and scientific experts; and it may be that prosecutors are
    > concerned that "reasonable doubt" is virtually inherent in
    > a process that relies on a "battle of the experts" for
    > evidence of fraud. Meanwhile, doctors and scientific
    > experts are obviously well aware of their effective
    > immunity from prosecution. They do not need a "get out of
    > jail free" card because they already have a "never go to
    > jail" card.....
    >
    > But more is necessary to curb fraud. State and federal
    > legislation is needed to empower prosecutors to pierce
    > doctors' and scientific experts' effective immunity from
    > criminal prosecution. Drafting legislation to distinguish
    > between legitimately disputed diagnoses or theories of
    > causation and manufacturing medical or scientific evidence
    > for money is a daunting task. But it is one that we must
    > undertake to preserve the integrity of the civil justice
    > system.
    >
    > Mr. Brickman is professor of law at the Cardozo School of
    > Law of Yeshiva University.
    >
    >
    > December 1, 2006
    >
    > To The Editors of the Wall Street Journal and Mr. Lester
    > Brinkman,
    >
    > My name is Mrs. Sharon Kramer. I advocate for those made
    > ill from mold exposure who are not able to obtain viable
    > medical treatment because of much misinformation being
    > disseminated over the matter.
    >
    > The article entitled "False Witness" and authored by Mr.
    > Lester Brinkman has a misstatement of fact that is
    > potentially harmful to many, should it not be corrected.
    It
    > is misinformation that could cause the public to be lulled
    > into a false and dangerous sense of security regarding
    > indoor mold exposure.
    >
    > Mr. Brinkman wrote: "according to the American College of
    > Occupational and Environmental Medicine, current
    scientific
    > evidence does not support the proposition that molds or
    the
    > mycotoxins produced by molds, whether inhaled in home,
    > school, or office environments, adversely affect human
    > health."
    >
    > The American College of Occupational and Environmental
    > Medicine makes no such claims that indoor mold exposureis
    > harmless to human health. The area of debate within the
    > matter, is if an indoor exposure to mycotoxins may produce
    > toxic effects.
    >
    > The actual quotes from the American College of
    Occupational
    > and Environmental Medicine, Mold Statement in regard to
    > mycotoxins are,
    >
    > 1. "Particular attention is given to the possible health
    > effects of mycotoxins, which give rise to much of the
    > concern and controversy surrounding indoor molds"
    >
    > 2. . "Levels of exposure in the indoor environment, dose-
    > response data in animals, and dose-rate considerations
    > suggest that delivery by the inhalation route of a toxic
    > dose of mycotoxins in the indoor environment is highly
    > unlikely at best, even for the hypothetically most
    > vulnerable subpopulations."
    >
    > 3. "Current scientific evidence does not support the
    > proposition that human health has been adversely affected
    > by inhaled mycotoxins in home, school, or office
    > environments."
    >
    > With regard to ill health effects known from the molds
    > themselves, the American College of Occupational and
    > Environmental Medicine states:
    >
    > 1. A growing body of literature associates a variety of
    > diagnosable respiratory illnesses (asthma, wheezing,
    cough,
    > phlegm, etc.), particularly in children, with residence in
    > damp or water-damaged homes (see reviews 3-5).
    >
    > 2. "Allergic and other hypersensitivity responses to
    indoor
    > molds may be immunoglobulin E (IgE) or immunoglobulin G
    > (IgG) mediated, and both types of response are associated
    > with exposure to indoor molds."
    >
    > 3. Individuals with allergic airway disease should take
    > steps to minimize their exposure to molds and other
    > airborne allergens, eg, animal dander, dust mites,
    pollens.
    > For these individuals, it is prudent to take feasible
    steps
    > that reduce exposure to aeroallergens and to remediate
    > sources of indoor mold amplification
    >
    > 4. If evaluation of the occupational environment fails to
    > disclose the source of antigens, exposures in the home,
    > school, or office should be investigated. Once identified,
    > the source of the mold or other inhaled foreign antigens
    > should be remediated.
    >
    > The following is the link to the American College of
    > Occupational and Environmental Medicine document.
    >
    > Evidence Based Statement | Adverse Human Health Effects
    > Associated with Molds in the Indoor Environment
    >
    > As one can clearly see, Mr. Brinkman's statement
    > of "according to the American College of Occupational and
    > Environmental Medicine, current scientific evidence does
    > not support the proposition that molds or the mycotoxins
    > produced by molds, whether inhaled in home, school, or
    > office environments, adversely affect human health." is a
    > false statement in need of correction.
    >
    > I do agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Brinkman's evaluation
    > of "But more is necessary to curb fraud. State and federal
    > legislation is needed to empower prosecutors to pierce
    > doctors' and scientific experts' effective immunity from
    > criminal prosecution. Drafting legislation to distinguish
    > between legitimately disputed diagnoses or theories of
    > causation and manufacturing medical or scientific evidence
    > for money is a daunting task. But it is one that we must
    > undertake to preserve the integrity of the civil justice
    > system.".
    >
    > And I find that it would have been appropriate in an
    > article entitled "False Witness" that takes the position
    > there is much fraud on the plaintiff side in environmental
    > litigation, Mr. Brinkman and the Wall Street Journal
    should
    > have disclosed to the readers, Mr. Brinkman's long history
    > and close affiliation with the defense side of toxic tort
    > litigation. It should have been disclosed to the reader of
    > the author's close affiliation with the Manhattan
    > Institute. The Manhattan Institute has played a
    > significant part in much of the misinformation being
    > propagated over the mold issue.
    >
    > Below are links that illustrate Mr. Brinkman's long
    history
    > with the defense side of toxic tort litigation.
    >
    > From the UCSF Tobacco Legacy Library regarding Mr.
    > Brichman, RJ Reynolds Documents
    > http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/cgi/getdoc?
    > tid=mcl46a00&fmt=pdf&ref=results
    >
    > "FYI - The Manhattan Institute had a call from 60
    > Minutes.....the producer might want to call an academic,
    > and he provided Lester Brichman's name."
    >
    >
    > "In response to Dan's question I said "no" neither we nor
    > the litigation project (which technically doesn't exist!)
    > should not reach out to 60 Minutes or we'd wind up in the
    > story or kill it. I'm not even going to tell the cos. for
    > fear PM [sic Phillip Morris] will try to do
    > something "clever".
    >
    > "Former Helms staffer will be joining the Institute in
    July
    > as sr. vp of federal grant
    >
    >
    > From the Manhattan Institute website:
    >
    >
    http://www.cardozo.yu.edu/life/summer2005/pdf/faculty_briefs
    > .pdf
    >
    > "President Bush with Prof. Lester Brickman (at left)
    for A
    > Conversation on Asbestos Litigation Reform.
    >
    > "Lester Brickman received the 2004 Legal Reform Research
    > Award from the US Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal
    > Reform."
    >
    >
    > From the PointofLaw website:
    >
    > PointofLaw.com is a website sponsored by the Center for
    > Legal Policy at the Manhattan Institute and Liability
    > Project at the American Enterprise Institute. Focusing on
    > America's civil justice system, the site includes original
    > discussions featuring some of the nation's top legal
    > scholars, an ongoing forum on liability issues, a
    > bibliography of important books and articles, and links to
    > topical legal news stories. Contributors:Lester Brickman
    is
    > a professor of law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of
    Law
    > at Yeshiva University. His areas of expertise include
    > administrative alternatives to mass tort litigation,
    > asbestos litigation, and contingency fee reform. Professor
    > Brickman has written extensively on these and other
    topics,
    > he has testified at congressional hearings, and he is
    > widely quoted in the press.
    >
    > Attached is a document illustrating the US Chamber and
    > Manhattan Institute involvement in the mold issue.
    >
    > Additional example of the known dangers of mold exposure,
    > the Center for Disease Control on the subject:
    > www.otispregnancy.org/pdf/mold.pdf
    >
    >
    > I thank the Wall Street Journal and Mr. Brinkman, in
    > advance for correcting the false statement of "according
    > to the American College of Occupational and Environmental
    > Medicine, current scientific evidence does not support the
    > proposition that molds or the mycotoxins produced by
    molds,
    > whether inhaled in home, school, or office environments,
    > adversely affect human health." in the article ironically
    > entitled "False Witness".
    >
    > Sincerely,
    > Mrs. Sharon Kramer
    >

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