A critique of the ACOEM statement on mold: undisclosed conflicts of interest in the creation of an "evidence-based" statement

Int J Occup Environ Health. Oct-Dec 2008;14(4):283-98. doi: 10.1179/oeh.2008.14.4.283.

Abstract

In 2003, the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) published its evidence-based statement, "Adverse Human Health Effects Associated with Molds in the Indoor Environment," in its Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (JOEM). ACOEM's author selection, development, peer review, and publication of its mold position paper involved a series of seemingly biased and ethically dubious decisions and ad hoc methods. The resulting position paper resembled a litigation "defense report" which omitted or inadequately acknowledged research validating the association between mold and building-related symptoms. ACOEM nonetheless released the paper as an "evidence-based" statement and then published it in JOEM without any further changes or conflict disclosure. The Mold Statement has been relied upon by attorneys and expert witnesses representing defendants in mold litigation to disclaim and invalidate individuals', families', and workers' claims of building-related health effects from indoor mold exposure.

MeSH terms

  • Air Microbiology
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / adverse effects*
  • Conflict of Interest*
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Fungi / pathogenicity*
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / etiology
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Hypersensitivity / physiopathology
  • Jurisprudence
  • Mycotoxins / toxicity
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / etiology
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / physiopathology
  • Sick Building Syndrome*
  • Societies, Medical*
  • United States

Substances

  • Mycotoxins