Sharon Kramer – Political History of the Toxic Mold Issue

Air Date: 6-19-2015|Episode 373


This week IAQ Radio welcomes back Integrity in Health Marketing Advocate Sharon Kramer. Sharon has joined us several times during her lonely journey fighting what she has claimed for years is bad science marketed as truth…

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This week IAQ Radio welcomes back Integrity in Health Marketing Advocate Sharon Kramer. Sharon has joined us several times during her lonely journey fighting what she has claimed for years is bad science marketed as truth.  She has been shaking up the indoor environmental and medical community for years exposing how conflicts of interest and marketing ploys have been used to deny mold and damp buildings cause health problems. Her hard work lead to a Wall Street Journal article exposing some of these conflicts. The original paper she authored that caught The Journal’s attention was “ACOEM Exposed, A Case Study in Sham Peer Review and Conflicts of Interest”. The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) has been in her sites for years. It took 11 years of her life to fight against any notion that water damaged buildings are safe. Recently ACOEM quietly revised their paper on mold, dampness and health.

Sharon has organized presentations to the US Congress and anyone else that would listen; she created a mandate for the US Senate HELP committee to hear testimony; she caused several media outlets to write of conflicts of interest in science and medicine in United States public health policies and courts; she helped people in New Orleans to provide opinion separate from the CDC analysis of the effect of flooding from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the Gulf; finally she was even jailed in California for two nights for telling the truth of how false science became policy and remained that way for many years. Not many people are willing to spend all their family financial resources to fight for the Truth. Not many people would refuse to retract five words in order to avoid jail time. Join IAQ Radio today at noon eastern and LEARN MORE about the political history of the toxic mold issue.

Z-Man’s Blog:

Disconnect between public policy and patients

This week IAQ Radio welcomed back “integrity in health marketing advocate Sharon Kramer”. Sharon has joined us several times during her eleven yearjourney fighting what she has claimed for years is “bad science marketed as truth”.  She has been shaking up the indoor environmental and medical community for years exposing how conflicts of interest and marketing ploys have been used to deny mold and damp buildings cause health problems. Her hard work lead to a Wall Street Journal article exposing some of these conflicts. The original paper she authored that caught The Journal’s attention was “ACOEM Exposed, A Case Study in Sham Peer Review and Conflicts of Interest”. Since 2005, the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) has been in her sites. They marketedthe flawed concept that extrapolations applied to data from a single rodent study could be used as scientific proof that mold toxins in water damaged buildings do not harm.  It was the mainstay in mold litigations and claims handling practices and was used to harm the lives of thousands based on the false concept being marketed as science in policy. Recently ACOEM quietly removed their position statement on mold, dampness and health from the Public Affairs page of their website. They are no longer promoting that it is proven Toxic Mold does not harm.

Sharon has organized presentations to the US Congress and the US Senate. She caused several media outlets to write of conflicts of interest in science and medicine in United States public health policies and courts. She helped people in New Orleans to provide opinion separate from the CDC analysis of the effect of flooding from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the Gulf.She caused a federal Government Accountability Office audit of the mold issue. And she was even jailed in California for two nights for telling the truth of how false science became policy and remained that way for many years by acts of corruption and bias in the courts. Not many people are willing to spend all their family financial resources to fight for the Truth. Not many people would refuse to sign a false confession of libel for five words “altered his under oath statements” in order to avoid jail time.

To LEARN MORE and read Sharon’s paper about The Political History of the Toxic Mold Issue visit Katy’s Exposure.

Sharon has been published herself in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health with a paper she co-authored entitled “ACOEM, A professional association in service to industry” and another in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology entitled “Non-disclosure of conflicts of interest is perilous to the advancement of science”.

This week we invited back Sharon Kramer to follow up on her progress with respect to the ACOEM statementand 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. Whether or not you agree with her cause, you have to admire her conviction.

Nuggets mined from today’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.
  • She credits Melinda Ballard for heightening public awareness to the potential health hazards from water damaged buildings and as an unintended result, sending fear throughout the insurance and building industries.
  • 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 adefense 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.
  • 2015 has been a good year for the “enviro injured”. The ACOEM has “quietly” allowed the sun to set on their position paper, aiding those suffering from injuries caused by mold toxins. Like the mold injured, acknowledgement has occurred as a matter of public health policy, that sufferers of Lyme disease and chronic fatigue aren’t “hysterical liars”.
  • Medical understanding comes before advancement of legal accountability for causation. The doctors making public policy are not the same doctors treating patients. Doctors must realize illness exists in order to treat it. “Enviro injury” is physical illness not mental illness.
  • She will be giving a presentation onthe 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.

-If we mandate a higher level of remediation for all are you concerned some will just do nothing because they find it’s too expensive?

Maybe, for a while.  Until it becomes common knowledge that this could ruin your lives.

-Is just stopping the moisture source ever enough?

As long as the bio-contaminants haven’t begun to grow.  It they are there, they need to go.  Better to err on the side of caution.

-Can people perform their own remediation even if they are sensitized?

I suppose they could in some instances.  But it doesn’t seem to be a good idea to promote that they can as a matter of policy.

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.

-Mission statement, Teach doctors to recognize and treat mycotic disease.

-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.

Today’s Music: Song for Sharon by Joni Mitchell, YouTube

Z-Man signing off

Trivia question: What do the letters ACOEM stand for?

Answer: American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

 

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