Getting bold with mold: Ancient nuisance now high-profile problem for builders and home occupants
Some brief material from reporter JOHN HENDERSON
Mold infestation is nothing new -- it is even addressed in the Bible (Leviticus).
What is new is the attention it's getting lately.
Locally, homeowners are suing at least one builder over mold; the topic is more often mentioned in sales contracts, and homeowners and renters are complaining more vociferously and frequently.
Nationally, an ever-increasing number of lawsuits are being filed by homeowners against builders and insurance companies, and the issue is receiving major media attention.
Some insurers have asked the Florida Insurance Department to let them exclude mold damage from coverage, or limit the payout amounts.
"It's probably the most litigious issue facing the building and real estate industry this year, said Michael Reitmann, executive vice president of the Lee Building Industry Association. "The critical issue is that there is no standard of what constitutes mold that is harmful to your health."
Reitmann said there are many different types of mold, and the National Association of Homebuilders is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta to try to develop a standard.
David Ellis, executive vice president of Collier Building Industry Association, was reached by telephone as he was attending a home builders conference in Alaska. He said mold intrusion was at a topic at that conference. "Lately, a lot of attention has been drawn to those issues as the result of legal cases," he said.
Ellis said the moist, damp climate in Florida is conducive to the development of mold, but building methods are being developed to cut down on the risk.
To read Mr. Henderson's full article, and not just a few quotes go to: www.heindllaw.com/toxic_mold_naples_florida_news.htm
From the Naples Daily News, Sunday, September 29, 2002
By JOHN HENDERSON
Because I am the co-author on a 600-page book on academic biotoxic mold, I am seeing patients from all over the USA. But many are home grown right here in SW Florida. We do not have basements, but we have many buildings and homes, which were built with a tremendous casualness about water and high indoor humidity. It is nothing to some SW Florida residents turn off the air conditioning and let the humidity climb to 70%. Well known and admired buildings in SW Florida, and indeed all over the SE United States, contain special varieties of toxic mold. Typically, the owner, perhaps with the utmost integrity, calls in an inspection team. Sometimes the owner just does not know how to evaluate the 200 experts competing for his business.
The building evaluators find nothing serious, despite the feeling of those in the building, that they are ill when in the structure.
Of course, then I am honored to bring in the best mold building evaluator in the country, Richard Lipsey, PhD, and sure enough he finds the source of the illness. Like all professions, including physicians, mold evaluators are a dime a dozen, and the difference between the best and the worst can kill you.
And I do mean to say that toxic mold can kill you. It can release so many different types of biotoxins, that the issue is not if it will make you sick, but have you been exposed so long that you have altered your genes, so that my job will be a challenge. And while we work on your recovery, your blood, hormones, inflammation system and immune system will all have potential problems. In rare cases, people have scarred their brain. Try and find a neurologist that knows about mold biotoxin brain injury. Good luck!
Further, I have also noticed casualness about water leaks in Florida. Folks are OK with the idea that it will be fixed "sooner or later." And do not realize that at the 48-hour mark you are playing with fire. I have been heart broken to hear folks talk about the visible mold inside their home, and they talk about it like it is confetti, and they should see it as anthrax. They do not realize this is not a cute moss on the base of their trees. They are foggy, often bloated and have trouble with insight.
My Best Hope For a Full Recovery to You,