NAII Says Physicians Group Statement Takes Practical View of Mold

November 14, 2002

According to the National Association of Independent Insurers (NAII), The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM)’s recent position statement on mold holds that “current scientific evidence does not support the proposition that human
health has been adversely affected by inhaled mycotoxins in home, school, or office environments” – a position consistent with the mold policy position recently developed by the NAII.

“Almost point for point, the ACOEM statement is in full agreement with the NAII policy position on this issue,” David Golden, director of commercial lines for NAII, said. “We’re gratified that such a prestigious organization recognizes that much of the controversy surrounding mold is little more than hype generated by the trial bar and the mold remediation industry.”

The ACOEM represents more than 6,000 physicians specializing in the field of occupational and environmental medicine (OEM).

In its Oct. 27 statement, ACOEM determined that although five percent of individuals could have some allergic reaction to mold over their lifetimes, most of these reactions are to the more ubiquitous outdoor mold. In fact, the statement pointed out, most indoor mold is not a source of fungal infection except for persons with “severely impaired immune systems.”

“Due to the ubiquity of fungi in the environment, it is not possible to prevent immune-compromised individuals from being exposed to molds and fungi outside the confines of hospital isolation units,” according to the ACOEM position statement.

And even the most immune-compromised people would have difficulty
developing a mold-related illness from exposure to indoor mold, the statement continued. “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.”

The ACOEM statement made practical recommendations on how property owners can address the problem of indoor mold simply by eliminating the supply of moisture that mold needs to survive and grow.

The NAII’s policy position drew similar conclusions to those of the ACOEM, Golden pointed out. “Like the ACOEM, we encourage scientific research aimed at preventing mold problems by eliminating the moisture source, and effective remediation,” he said.

NAII believes public education, especially toward water-related maintenance, quick response to water problems, and effective remediation, are key in demystifying the mold hype. “A little education goes a long way in eliminating the fear of mold, which is more perception than reality,” Golden noted. “It is the media’s responsibility to present the facts, and we stand ready to assist
with factual information about mold.”

NAII has opposed the imposition of mold exposure standards and mandated coverages, which so far have been the main focus on legislative activity on the issue. “This sort of legislation is simply a knee-jerk reaction to a greatly exaggerated risk,” Golden said.

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.