IAQ Radio, Political History of Toxic Mold, & Moi

IAQ Radio is the “Voice of the Indoor Air Quality Industry”.  The weekly Internet show, which airs on Fridays at noon ET, is owned and operated by Joe Hughes and Cliff Zlotnik. Together, they have a combined 70+ years experience in the IAQ industry.
A good tool for seasoned researchers or novices to IAQ matters, IAQ Radio offers an extensive audio library of Toxic Mold and other issues related to the indoor environment (IE). Beginning 2006, program guests are typically scientists, physicians, IAQ pros, and others who influence policies, standards and practices impacting IE. One can access their outstanding archives HERE.
Today’s guest is Lew Harriman, who is speaking on the subject of investigating and avoiding moisture-related problems in existing buildings.  Mr. Harriman was a contributor to the new EPA Moisture Control Guidance for Building Design, Construction and Maintenance and his presentation will include information from this important industry document. Listeners  with IPod/IPad talkshoe.com/i/iaq takes you to IAQ Radio’s Talkshoe page. Listeners with a PC talkshoe.com/iaq takes you to IAQ Radio’s Talkshoe Page
Every Thursday, Cliff and Joe e-blasts the “IAQ Radio Z-Man Blog” with a recap of the prior week’s interview and an announcement of the current week’s guest.   One can subscribe to the weekly blog  HERE.
Last Friday, I had the pleasure of joining Joe and Cliff as their interviewee. The subjects I primarily spoke of was the sordid political history of the Toxic Mold issue; along with what the future holds — now that the false science, which claimed it was proven Toxic Mold does not harm, has been removed from US public health and workcomp policies and US courts. You can listen to last week’s broadcast by clicking HERE.
There is still much work to be done and many wrongs to be righted over the Toxic Mold issue.  If you have an interest in seeing/causing IAQ policy changes for the good of public health and safety, please listen to the broadcast.  It should help you to understand just how nasty the politics of this issue has really been and what you can do to help bring about change.
Some key excerpts from yesterday’s Z-Man’s Blog:
Disconnect between public policy and patients
“…This week we invited back Sharon Kramer to follow up on her progress with respect to the ACOEM statement and what its recent removal from public health policy means for the advancement of science and medicine. This is an issue that we have followed closely and we look forward to hearing from the advocate that got the ball rolling and continues to try and make a difference.
Nuggets mined from last week’s  episode:
  • Due to an energy crisis construction standards changed in the 1970s utilizing more manmade water damage susceptible building materials. People began experiencing health effects from living in water damaged buildings. The internet allowed concerned people to communicate.
  • In an effort to shutdown liability, insurance carriers turned to hired guns to influence public and medical policy. Applying math to a rodent study “experts” concluded that mold wouldn’t harm people; resulting in thousands of sick people being denied help in the court system and being labeled as hypochondriacs and scam artists.
  • Insurance companies instituted mold exclusions and capped coverage at a few thousand dollars, making it difficult for the IAQ industry to perform work which protects the public.
  • Sharon Kramer traces the origin of her journey in public advocacy to a botched remediation for an icemaker leak that damaged her home,the health of herself (hypersensitivity pneumonitis) and threatened the safety of her daughter who suffered from cystic fibrosis and aspergillosis.After her insurer sued the Kramers for not accepting $30,000 to fix the home; the family counter-sued and received nearly a half a million dollar settlement in 2003.
  • Realizing most families were not so fortunate and could not afford to fight for their children’s safety in court, she began advocating for them in 2004.
  • Toxicologist Bruce Kelman, PhD, is a co-author of the ACOEM mold statement. According to Sharon, their paths first crossed in 2002, when he was retained as a defense expert witness in the water damage claim at her home. His testimony helped her to make her case. As a toxicologist with a PhD, he informed the insurer that a physician with detailed knowledge, would need to be consulted for the potential health hazards from mold in the home, for the Kramer daughter with cystic fibrosis and aspergillosis (which is not a toxicological affliction). The case settled favorably for the Kramer family approximately one month after Mr. Kelman’s deposition in October of 2003.
  • In 2005, Sharon published the first public writing of how ACOEM, Mr. Kelman, and a US Congressman were connected to a think-tank and the US Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform when mass-marketing the false concept that Mr. Kelman and his business partner, Mr. Hardin, had proven Toxic Mold does not harm.
  • While attempting to stop the information from coming to public light, Mr. Kelman, Mr. Hardin and their corporation, Veritox, Inc. sued Sharon for libel for five words in the writing, “altered his under oath statements”. Kelman and his attorney claimed Sharon had malice for Mr. Kelman because she was “apparently furious that his science conflicted with her dreams of a remodeled home” in her mold lawsuit.
  • Retired Judge Michael Orfield first oversaw the libel case. He was the same judge who oversaw the Kramer mold litigation and had signed the three settlement agreements awarding nearly a half a million dollars to the Kramer family. He was provided, but ignored, the direct evidence that Mr. Kelman was misstating fact to manufacture a libel law required, reason for malice.
  • The libel case, and a second one to silence Sharon of the fraud in the first, drug on for eight more years. As a result, the false concept that mold toxins in water damaged buildings do not harm, remained in public health policy and US courts until 2015. To date, no one has been punished by any government policing agency.
  • Sharon credits D. Michael Hodgson, MD, MPH as being the primary person to cause the ACOEM position paper to be removed from policy; and for his unyielding advocacy against it since its publication in 2002.
  • Doctors must realize illness exists in order to treat it. “Enviro injury” is physical illness not mental illness.
  • She will be giving a presentation on the Political History of the Toxic Mold Issue, at Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker’s “Cutting Edge of Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome; second annual conference” in November 2015, Phoenix, AZ.
-Can you comment on which medical providers seem to be having the most success with helping people that have lived in water damaged buildings?
Those who follow the Shoemaker protocol, the AAEM doctors, and the functional medicine doctors.
Do you think all homes should be remediated to the level that some claim is necessary or is this only necessary for the most sensitive?
I think it needs to be understood that if someone is experiencing symptoms indicative of illness from a WDB, that extra precautions should be taken to assure they don’t become sicker from the remediation process.
Who is going to pay for this level of remediation?
Once the doctors are trained to realize WDB’s are causing some pretty serious illnesses, I would think the insurer would.  The liability to not do a complete job which encompasses protecting occupant health, will become greater than the cost savings of not doing it.  The risk/benefit shifts with the education of the doctors.
Getting beyond the medical community and govt. What hurts your cause the most?
Gossiping ninnies who are promoting within the mold community that I’m lying about the Cal courts fixing the SLAPP suit — to make me appear that I was a liar for exposing how the fraud got marketed.  It’s made it 1000 times harder on me to get the false science of ACOEM out of policy.  You should see some of the horrible things they write about me.  These are people I set out to help and its cost me all to do it.
-Did anyone pay a price for fraud and injustice? No, and she didn’t seek to punish them. Not all members of the ACOEM, in fact the vast majority are good.
-What’s next for you?
I’m writing a book and will be involved in further litigation over the fixed SLAPP suit. I am also continuing to lobby key gov’t officials/employees to cause physician re-education/awareness re: illnesses from Toxic Mold
-Is there anything else you would like to add?
I mainly want it to be known that its time form mainstream doctors to be taught that these illnesses are real.  ACOEM’s gone. NIH just put out a doc saying Chronic Fatigue is real.   To quote a key part:
“Although psychological repercussions (e.g., depression) may accompany ME/CFS, it is not a primary psychological disease in etiology.”
To quote from the NIH Report:
“Both society and the medical profession have contributed to ME/CFS patients feeling disrespected and rejected. They are often treated with skepticism, uncertainty, and apprehension and labeled as deconditioned or having a primary psychological disorder. ME/CFS patients often make extraordinary efforts at extreme personal and physical costs to find a physician who will correctly diagnose and treat their symptoms while others are treated inappropriately causing additional harm. Overall, the debilitating effects of ME/CFS can result in financial instability due to the consequences of the illness (e.g., the loss of employment, home)”….economic burden estimated to be between $2 billion and $7 billion in the United States. ME/CFS results in major disability for a large proportion of the people affected.”
Comments from Global Watchdog Pete Consigli:
  • Factoid: A Texas jury indicted the adjuster of Melinda Ballard’s claim on charges of child endangerment.
  • Anytime you hurt a mother or a child, especially the child of someone experienced in marketing/public relations, you can expect the lioness to come out.
  • Health and IAQ are public policy issues, how much money will be allotted and where will it go?
  • The Codes of Ethics of Disaster Restoration, Indoor Air Quality and Industrial Hygiene Organizations increasingly advocate for protection of the public.
  • The restoration and IAQ industry are increasing collaboration with academia.”
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