"Asthma and Sick Building Syndrome are commonly reported ... (studies suggest) such symptoms in schools are related to exposures to volatile organic compounds (VOCs), molds and microbial VOCs, and allergens." (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Daisey et al, 2003)
Companies guilty of deceiving public about health dangers
There are many parallels in the following news article that may be instructive in the case of the environmental health dangers of mold and the vehement attempts by defense interests to deny these. If this conduct is called racketeering for the tobacco industry, then may it also be so for the industries that benefit from lying to the public and physicians about mold (and chemical) problems? Reportedly, there are some formerly employed by Big Tobacco who now labor for mold defense interests. The cause of the blockade to accessing medical help and preventing and addressing mold, vigorously, in our nation, may well involve a similar scenario, according to the observations of many mold activists. How many children become chronically ill, just trying to get an education, from attending damp, moldy schools? How many are dead, dying, sick, jobless, losing out on an appropriate education, disabled, suffering, bankrupt, destitute, homeless, without medical care or hope, due to toxic, moldy homes, schools, and workplaces - a result of the denial of these problems? How many have developed Chemical Sensitivitiesdue to toxic chemicals like mycotoxins, fungicides (or other pesticides), without medical recognition, treatment, or other types of help? How many endure daily public ridicule and even lose important relationships, due to the incorrect, industry-fostered information that these are non-existant or psychological problems? How many women miscarry or become unable to conceive? How many develop cancers? How many children develop asthma or are born with autism? How many endure severe harassment for trying to get help? When is enough, enough?
We submit that the number of those ill from mold and suffering is, at the very least, in the many tens of millions and may equal or surpass those impacted by tobacco. Is there a group effort to deny mold's harm to health? Might this also be, therefore, racketeering, under the RICO laws? If you think so, contact your legislators and the White House. A healthy America is in all of our interests - we have rooted out the deceipt in Big Tobacco, now let us root it out in those who foster lies about the dangers of mold and chemicals, the causes of preventable, widespread environmental illnesses. (SMH)
WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal appeals court on Friday agreed with the major elements of a 2006 landmark ruling that found the top U.S. tobacco companies guilty of racketeering and fraud for deceiving the public about the dangers of smoking.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington unanimously upheld requirements that manufacturers change the way they market cigarettes. The requirements, which have been on hold pending appeal, would ban labels such as "low tar," ''light," ''ultra light" or "mild," since such cigarettes have been found no safer than others.
Throughout the 10 years the case has been litigated, tobacco companies have denied committing fraud. The companies argued the ban on labels like "light" would cost them hundreds of millions of dollars.
Philip Morris USA and its parent company, Altria Group Inc., said they will appeal to the Supreme Court.
"The court's conclusions are not supported by the law or the evidence presented at trial, and we believe the exceptional importance of these issues justifies further review," Altria attorney Murray Garnick said in a statement.
Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, one of six health advocacy groups that participated in the lawsuit, said the appeals decision "represents a dramatic victory for public health and an emphatic condemnation of the tobacco industry and its behavior."
The government filed the civil case under a 1970 racketeering law commonly known as RICO, used primarily to prosecute mobsters in cases in which there has been a group effort to commit fraud.
The suit was first filed in 1999 during the Clinton administration and pursued by the Bush administration after unsuccessful attempts to settle.
The nine-month trial heard by U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler without a jury included live and written testimony from 246 witnesses and almost 14,000 exhibits in evidence. Prosecutors said the companies secretly agreed not to compete over whose products were the least hazardous to smokers to ensure they didn't have to publicly address the harm caused by smoking.
"The government presented evidence from the 1950s and continuing through the following decades demonstrating that the defendant manufacturers were aware — increasingly so as they conducted more research — that smoking causes disease, including lung cancer," the appeals court wrote in a 92-page opinion.
The government also argued the manufacturers lied about the dangers of secondhand smoke, manipulated cigarettes to maintain addiction, intentionally marketed to youth and destroyed documents to hide the dangers and protect themselves in litigation.
Internal documents introduced at trial showed industry researchers found smokers compensate for reduced nicotine in "low-tar" cigarettes by taking more frequent puffs and inhaling more deeply to satisfy their addiction. Yet they continued to market those cigarettes as less harmful.
The government had asked Kessler to make the companies pay $10 billion for a national smoking cessation program, but Kessler said that wasn't within her legal authority. The government appealed that decision but the appeals court upheld it.
Besides Philip Morris and Altria, other manufacturers who were defendants in the lawsuit were: R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.; Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp.; British American Tobacco Ltd.; Lorillard Tobacco Co. and Liggett Group Inc.
Liggett was excluded from the ruling because the judge said the company came forward in the 1990s to admit smoking causes disease and is addictive and cooperated with government investigators.
The appeals court ruled that two other defendants who were included in the District Court ruling — Counsel for Tobacco Research-U.S.A. and the now-defunct Tobacco Institute — be dismissed from the suit. Both are trade organizations for the cigarette manufacturers, but they did not manufacture or sell tobacco products.
R.J. Reynolds said it was also considering appeal. "R.J. Reynolds strongly believes that neither the evidence presented at trial nor the legal standards justify a finding of liability," said company attorney Martin L. Holton III.
In a statement, U.S. Deputy Attorney General David Ogden said the ruling affirmed "the government's position that for more than 50 years the tobacco companies deceived the American people." He said it allows the Justice Department to now go after companies which continue their deceptive practices.
Copyright 2009 Associated Press.
from Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker's site, www.moldwarriors.com: