Death Mold Attacks Nation's Capitol

Mold Only Harmful to Government Officials

As if government officials did not have enough to worry about in these days of allegations of rampant corruption, new research by health advocacy groups finds government officials’ families may be more susceptible to toxic mold than their constituents.

WebBS, April 14, 2006 — While average citizens of New Orleans are being encouraged to return with little warning of potential health hazards from breathing molds and the toxins they produce, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco has been residing outside of the Governors Mansion. The Mansion was undergoing a taxpayer paid $800,000 renovation – $500,000 of which was for mold removal.

In August of last year, North Carolina Governor Mike Easley’s family was forced to move from the Governors Mansion because of mold. This is the second time in four years that the 114-year-old mansion has been invaded by mold. According to Secretary of Administration Gwynn Swinson, the governor and his family needed to clear out for health reasons.

In March 2005, Bryan Brown of the consumer protection division for Kansas State Attorney Gen. Phill Kline, sued Kansas Republican Party Chairman Tim Shallenburger over the home Brown purchased from Shallenburger, which was reported to have mold (Case #05C-000305, Shawnee County District Court, Kansas). Brown said things started falling apart in the house and that his children became ill because of mold.

Brown has taken no known stance to assist numerous average Kansas citizens claiming difficulty from mold. This would support what appears to be current accepted scientific evidence: Mold is only dangerous for government officials’ families.

As further evidence of this apparent phenomenon, implications of a study done by allergists affiliated with the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) are that average citizens complaining of serious mold illnesses are simply liars and whiners out to scam money from the poor insurance industry.

AAAAI allergist Dr. Abba Terr from UCSF Medical Center was able to step outside his field of study and into the realm of psychology to establish these findings. Terr and associates did not connect any allergic reactions to the poisoning from mold toxins and concluded the illnesses were therefore presumed.

Terr said, “Since these authors have determined that the patients they describe do not have a mold-related disease but are nevertheless seeking compensation for presumed illness through a legal process that has defined it in those terms, toxic mold disease is truly a diagnosis of litigation.”

Dr. Terr is so convinced his findings are accurate, he willing to swear to it under oath and has on numerous occasions – sometimes receiving payment of $600 per hour while doing so.

Mold-Help.Org, a non-profit organization that has assisted thousands of average citizens, including infants, who ‘presume’ they are physically ill after mold exposure, provided research regarding another mold susceptible government family.

After a $5.6 million dollar renovation of the South Carolina Governors Mansion three years earlier, First Lady Jenny Sanford said in 2004, that stachybotrys was causing health problems with her family. Stachybotrys is a known toxin producing mold.

Mike Sponhour, spokesman for the South Carolina State Budget and Control Board which oversees maintenance on the building, said, “We understand the concern the first lady has for the health of her family and children. We take that very seriously. Were committed to doing everything we can to fix the problem and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Like numerous other government officials families from across the US, including President George W. Bush’s, Governor Sanford’s family may be more susceptible to mold than average families – who just presume they are.

A study recently published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the official publication of the American College of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology (ACAAI), substantiated average citizens as those who may not suffer from the same mold susceptibility as analyzed in government officials families.

Dr. Emil Bardana, President of the ACAAI and prolific expert witness in mold litigation, examined 50 mold cases that were referred to specified physicians largely by representatives of defendants named in the lawsuits.

The study by allergist Bardana concluded that no credible medical evidence has emerged to link mold exposure to the wide range of serious medical conditions associated with toxic mold syndrome – which is a poisoning, not an allergy.

Although memory and immunological complications have been reported by many Americans who have been exposed to mold in damp buildings, a WebMD Health Advisory regarding toxic mold syndrome and issued to the public in September of this year quoted allergist Bardana as saying, “We know that mold can make people sick if they end up in the foods they eat. But there is little evidence that inhaled environmental mold exposure can cause the serious illnesses that are attributed to it.”

After the implication of public safety from the WebMD Health Advisory, sales of OSHA recommended HazMat suits and respirators that are typically worn to protect from inhaling molds during remediation of buildings are anticipated to decline.

Information obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that molds can produce toxic substances called mycotoxins. Some of the molds that are known to produce mycotoxins are commonly found in moisture-damaged buildings. Exposure pathways for mycotoxins can include inhalation, ingestion, or skin contact.

The CDC goes on to state that much of the information on the human health effects of inhalation exposure to mycotoxins comes from studies done in the workplace and some case studies or case reports. And that many symptoms and human health effects attributed to inhalation of mycotoxins have been reported including: mucous membrane irritation, skin rash, nausea, immune system suppression, acute or chronic liver damage, acute or chronic central nervous system damage, endocrine effects and cancer.

Through the University of Mississippi, research by ACAAI allergists is under way to determine if stress from Katrina plays any role in increasing the impact of mold. It is uncertain to this author if the focus of this stress research should be from Katrina itself, or the stress of having the medical community not educated to the well documented toxic effects produced by some molds.

Either way, in the wake of Katrina with more people exposed to damp buildings, prescriptions of antidepressants and referrals to allergists are anticipated to increase. Because of mixed information, the number of mold cases currently clogging our courts are anticipated to grow – furthering the need for expert witnesses.

Kevin Carstens, Moderator of Sickbuildings, a 1,700-member support group of average citizens, who, according to the ACAAI and AAAAI, are experiencing “presumed” debilitating mold illnesses – said, “The CDC keeps saying more studies are needed to get a clear picture of the health effects related to mycotoxins. I am not aware of any new CDC initiated studies of the matter or even any tracking of these illnesses. Nor have I seen any warning to the public regarding the potential serious health effects of inhaling mycotoxins. I guess the burden of proof will fall on the children of New Orleans.”

The analysis by health groups observed many government officials who required extensive mold remediation for the protection of their families that average citizens did not. Yet it was inconclusive in establishing if government positions made officials more susceptible to mold than their constituents, or if their positions might have served to benefit the health of them and their families.


What average citizens need to know about mold illnesses is that the contention in our courtrooms and fear of financial liability over the multi-billion dollar “toxic mold” problem stifles and convolutes medical understanding.

If one has been exposed to a ‘sick building’ and is experiencing a variety of persistent atypical symptoms, there is an excellent chance their physician is not educated to understand what may be causing the symptoms.

Provide the physician with the EPA approved University of Connecticut – “Guidance for Clinicians on the Recognition and Management of Health Effects Related to Mold Exposure and Moisture Indoors”

Sharon Kramer