The United States Chamber of Commerce and the Manhattan Institute’s Center for Legal Policy have issued two papers on the growing hazard of mold litigation and the lack of scientific evidence linking mold to health problems.
In “A New Plague – Mold Litigation: How Junk Science and Hysteria Built an Industry,” the authors note that the insurance industry has paid billions of dollars for mold claims and there are more than 10,000 mold cases pending nationwide, a 300 percent increase from 1999. Despite this, the serious health claims that pervade mold litigation, such as brain damage, lung hemorrhage and cancer, cannot reportedly withstand scrutiny under the “reliable science” standard set by the U.S. Supreme Court. The paper reports that much of the fear about mold has been perpetuated by media accounts, which in turn have fueled lawsuits.
In “A Scientific View of the Health Effects of Mold,” the authors state that mold can cause reactions for those who are prone to allergies. Infections caused by mold are reportedly rare, except for those individuals who are “immune-compromised.” The study concludes that, “There is no sound scientific evidence that mold causes ‘toxicity’ in doses found in home environments.”
“Both these studies’ findings reinforce the Alliance of American Insurers’ position that scientific knowledge is not sufficiently advanced to allow specific standards to be developed for mold,” Kirk Hansen, director of claims for the Alliance, said.
“It is not always clear what causes mold to develop, when it causes damage, under what circumstances it poses a risk, or what health effects result from exposure to mold. It is also unclear as to what remediation measures are effective and which are cost effective,” he added. “Therefore, it is gratifying that these unbiased studies would agree with us that the ‘hard’ scientific data necessary to set standards on mold exposure, not only aren’t available, but also will be difficult to obtain,” Hansen added.