NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Tort Lawyers Discover Gold in Mold

January 9, 2002

For plaintiffs' lawyers, household mold could be the next asbestos. Some 10,000 suits naming contractors and insurers are building up in the courts. The common theme is that mold in their homes is making their clients sick -- causing everything from headaches and dizziness to neurological damage.

  • Mold is the visible growth of any of 100,000 species of fungus.
  • While certain types of mold contain a mycotoxin that can be fatal, such cases are extremely rare.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recanted an earlier report that implicated a type of mold in the bleeding lungs of eight Cleveland infants -- admitting that the study used unorthodox collection techniques and was flawed -- and now says that mold can cause allergic reactions, such as watery noses.
  • It also states that there is no proven link between mold and illnesses.

But the legal damage has already been done. Mold litigation has spread across the country. School districts in Illinois and Ohio have been hit by suits from students claiming health problems.

Source: Mary Ellen Egan, "The Fungus that Ate Sacramento," Forbes, January 21, 2002.


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