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Update on mold

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Elite Member
Jan 22, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
The following article appeared in ERC Member Dividends (newsletter) regarding mold.

Court Case, Studies Question Health Effects of Mold

A recent court decision and two new studies question the scientific validity of serious, mold-related health problems.

On Dec. 20, 2002, the Austin-American Statesman reported that a three-judge panel on the Texas Third Court of Appeals partially reversed the verdict in the Ballard decision (Ronald Allison v. Fire Insurance Exchange, No.03-01-00717-CV, Texas App., 3rd Dist) and reduced the plaintiff's award from $32 million to $4 million plus interest and legal fees. The justices upheld claims by Melinda Ballard and her husband, Ronald Allison, that their insurance carrier committed bad faith and violated the state's deceptive trade practices law in handling their water damage claim. However, the justices ruled unanimously that these violations were not committed "knowingly" and dismissed a lower court's finding of fraud. The court also reversed punitive and mental anguish damages, stating that scientific evidence was not available to support the plaintiff's claims of mold-related health problems.

Two medical organizations recently released reports on mold and its effect on health. The Texas Medical Association's Council on Scientific Affairs said that "public concerns about the adverse health effects from inhalation of Stachybotrys spores in water-damaged buildings are generally not supported by published reports in the medical literature." The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine stated in its study 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."

So, once again science disagrees with public perception. However, as public perception is a major factor in our business, it's still going to be a long ride until the histeria is over.

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