On Black Mold, Mildew Spores And Health.
In The News...
Insurers Worry About Toxic Mold and Mildew Claims
By John McKenzie
June 26 More and more homeowners are filing insurance claims and lawsuits
and insurance companies are worried the claims could overwhelm them.
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"The insurance companies thought the asbestos problem
was enormous, and this is going to make that look small," said Jeff Greene, a public
insurance adjuster. In Texas, several insurance companies have asked the state to allow them to drop
this kind of coverage from homeowners' policies. Today, several hundred homeowners showed up at a
public hearing on the issue held by the Texas Department of Insurance.
Earlier this month, a Texas jury awarded $32 million to a woman for what it did to her
22-room mansion and the mental anguish she went through. The insurer she sued, Farmers
Insurance Group, was among the companies seeking relief from the state.
Linked to Health Problems
Toxic mold and mildew is in millions of homes and offices and schools across the United States. The
term refers to various strains that are blamed for an ever-expanding list of
ailments, ranging from sinus infections and headaches, to chronic fatigue and even
short-term memory loss.
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"We know these molds can do these things," said Jack Spengler, a professor at
the Harvard School of Public Health. "We know it from animal studies. We know it from
clinical studies and occupational settings."
A 1999 Mayo Clinic study found that nearly 37 million Americans have chronic sinus
problems because of mold.
Mold and mildew usually grows in damp places: behind walls and under floors wherever there are
wet materials it can feed on. In sitting water, some can grow in just 24 hours.
Toxic mold and mildew has even forced people to desert their homes.
In Eugene, Ore., the O'Hara family's home became so infested with mold that they asked the
local fire department to burn it down. They figured that it would be cheaper to rebuild
from scratch than try to eradicate the contamination.
"We've got a lot of fond memories of it being our home," said Mark O'Hara.
"Now it's just basically a house that poisoned my family."
Doctors had attributed the family's nosebleeds and headaches to spores in their home.
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