ACOEM 2011 Critique…Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker

Posted on March 10th, 2011

Finally, ACOEM 2011 is here! After all the damage done to victims of moldy buildings by ACOEM 2002, I hoped to find something from this report that would benefit society. No, there is nothing here. Just more of the self-serving sleight of hand served up by this trade body for the benefit of their customers.

So many of us have seen just how the ACOEM 2002 was a tool designed to sway opinions of those uninformed, especially including judges and juries. ACOEM advertised itself as “The pre-eminent organization of physicians who champion the health and safety of workers, workplaces and environments.” Based on the ACOEM 2002 and 2011, one may re-state this claim to become the pre-eminent organization of defense consultants seeking to perpetrate scientific fraud upon workers, families and all concerned about water-damaged buildings.

Click here for the full critique and the report…



4 Responses to ACOEM 2011 Critique…Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker

  1. Sharon Kramer says:

    Dr. Shoemaker,

    Excellent critique of ACOEM’s moldy logic, Dr. Shoemaker. This critique will be a valuable tool that will help save many lives by exposing the deception in ACOEM’s concept of science and medicine for the public good.

    To leave those extrapolations by Bruce Kelman and Brian Hardin of VeriTox, Inc., in this version (that is used to promote the false concept that science hold the toxins in WDB pose no health threat) is aiding with insurer fraud. And I know ACOEM knows this, because I have explained it and evidenced it for them in detail with the legal documents.

    Specifically, those calculations are the cornerstone for a paper that Hardin and Kelman also authored for the US Chamber of Commerce, with payment coming from the Manhattan Institute think-tank. The paper is called “A Scientific View of the Health Effects of Mold” 2003.

    Hardin and Kelman are PhDs. The Chamber’s “Scientific View” cites false authorship of being co-written by a physician, Andrew Saxon. But only Hardin and Kelman billed hours and were paid for the Chamber paper; and Saxon has stated under oath that he had not even read it, three years after it publication.

    a.) billing records for the Chamber paper,
    b.) Saxon’s under oath statements saying he
    did not know he was a named author, and
    c.)Kelman stating under oath that he and
    Hardin got Saxon’s permission to put his
    name of the Chamber paper, may be read

    In other words, one of the three authors of the 2002 ACOEM Mold Statement, that are given credit as the foundation of the 2011 Revision (Hardin, Kelman, Saxon) – is not telling the truth under oath about who wrote the paid for hire work of the US Chamber. No one claims it on their CVs.

    According to Kelman’s under oath statements, the US Chamber paper was specifically written for judges.

    Saxon calls it “a nonscientific piece with my name on it”. Submitted via Amicus by a PAC in 2009, it is currently being used as a legal document to support Kelman’s expert opinion in a litigation in Arizona involving two infant deaths. I am pretty sure that is insurer fraud to submit phoney science papers with known fake authorship into a legal proceeding in support of the paid for hire expert witness/true author’s opinion.

    In the Arizona case, attorneys are holding it out as the gospel of science written by a “panel of scientists”. NOPE! Just Hardin and Kelman, who are also responsible for those fraudulent math calculations in the old and new ACOEM Mold Statements.

    One may read the PAC amicus (citing to the Chamber paper with falsified authorship) in relevant part at:

    In the LaDou, paper Dr. Shoemaker linked above, “ACOEM A Professional Organization In Service to Industry”, one may read more of the US Chamber’s paid for hire judicial marketing piece being closely tied to the “science” of Hardin, Kelman and ACOEM at pg 420.

    People should also know that a few states such as CA & NY, pay ACOEM to write the policies that workers’ comp physicians must follow when deteriming treatments and insurance benefits (or lack there of) for injured workers.

    Again, excellent writing, Dr. Shoemaker!!

  2. Jonathan Lee Wright says:

    While the ACOEM’s reiteration of it’s position on mold and human health is repugnant and it’s private sector utility possibly illegal, what is more alarming is the lack of response from elected officials who are fully aware of it’s existence and influence in public health policy formation.

    Numerous advocate groups and individuals have made direct, official requests for Congressional investigation into potential RICO violations associated with use of the ACEOM 2002 document over the last several years, with no response to date. I have personally had direct communications in regards to this issue with with three legislators who now hold Cabinet or senior advisory positions in the current federal administration, but who have apparently declined to take action.

    The ACEOM 2011 statement needs to be retracted immediately to ensure the health and safety of the public at large, which is a direct responsibility of our electorate.

    — Jonathan Lee Wright

    • Sharon Kramer says:


      You are exactly right. The indifference among legislators to the plight of those injured by WDB at the hands of the insurance industry, the US Chamber of Commerce and ACOEM is deplorable. The insurers’ ability to cost shift responsibility onto taxpayers aided by ACOEM’s (political) science is billions.

      To publicly document that there can be no question Washington DC knows what is occurring, I am posting two letters legislators and ACOEM have received in the past couple of months from scientists, physicians and citizens urging oversight of the private sector medical associations that are setting health policy regarding illnesses caused by water damaged buildings.

      Jan 17, 2011 Request for Transparency and Oversight of Federal Funds Used to Educate Private Sector Physicians of Illnesses Caused by WDB:

      Nov 28, 2010 Request to ACOEM and cc’d to Federal legislators to offer public comment to the the upcoming revisions of the ACOEM Mold Statement:

      FROM: Ninety Concerned Scientists, Physicians, Hygienists, Attorneys, Injured Workers, Employers, Citizens & Taxpayers

      TO: The Officers, Delegates and Directors,
      American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM)
      25 Northwest Point Blvd., Suite 700
      Elk Grove Village, Illinois, 60007-1030
      Fax: 847-818-9266

      RE: Request for a two week public and ACOEM general member comment period prior to finalization of proposed revisions to the ACOEM health policy statement, “Adverse Human Health Effects Associated with Molds in the Indoor Environment” Copyright © 2002

      ACOEM Officers, Delegates and Directors:
      President Natalie P. Hartenbaum, President-Elect T. Warner Hudson III, Vice President Karl Auerbach, Secretary-Treasurer Beth A. Baker, Past President Pamela A. Hymel, Recorder Melissa A. Bean, Speaker Alan Engelberg, Speaker-Elect Daniel M. Janiga, Barry Eisenberg Executive Director, Marianne Dreger Director of Communications, Anthony D. Burton, Marilyn V. Howarth, R. Loeppke,
      Mark A. Roberts, Marianne Cloeren, Michael L. Fischman, Michael G. Holland, James A. Tacci, William G. Buchta, James P. Seward, Brian C. Svazas, Charles M. Yarborough III,

      Dear Dr. Hartenbaum, Officers and Directors of ACOEM,

      It has recently come to our attention that ACOEM is drafting revisions to their 2002 health policy statement on water damaged building induced illnesses; and that these revisions will be shared with occupational medicine practitioners and other medical specialties at the upcoming March 2011,
      American Occupational Health Conference in Washington, DC, Session #2207.

      The policies and guidelines that ACOEM writes establish treatment protocols that ACOEM and other physicians use when examining workers who have been exposed to microbial contaminants (mold, etc)
      that are found in water damaged work environments. They are used to establish US public health policy and US teaching hospital protocols and practices.

      Additionally, they are used to establish or deny workers compensation insurance benefits for those workers claiming injury from water damaged workplaces; and to direct employers, building owners and
      others of the potential need to remediate the damaged buildings. These directives given for remediation also potentially impact the health and safety of employees and other occupants of water damaged buildings before, during and after a remediation.

      As such, the revisions ACOEM is drafting today will impact the physical well being of employees and all types of occupants of water damaged buildings tomorrow. The revisions will financially affect employers, property managers, builders, building owners and their workers comp, property casualty & health insurers. They will impact how US physicians address symptoms in workers and occupants who are exposed to the damaged building contaminants after a water loss; and exposed before, during and
      after remediation.

      Because of the large number of US citizens, US workers and US businesses that have been impacted by ACOEM’s mold policy and guidelines in the past with many more to be impacted by the revisions in the future; we are requesting that ACOEM display their newly proposed revisions to their 2002 mold
      position statement on the ACOEM web site,, for the purpose of a two week public, ACOEM member, and general scientific & medical community comment period prior to finalization.

      Please let us know if and when the leadership of the largest US occupational physician association, ACOEM, will make the proposed revisions publicly available for review and comment; so the general public, ACOEM members and other physicians may assist the leaders of ACOEM to establish policy by
      which we all can live. Thank you in advance for allowing those affected by the guidelines that ACOEM directors endorse today; to have a voice in the health policies that ACOEM establishes for us all tomorrow.

      Ninety, Issue Educated and Concerned

      US Federal Interagency Committee on Indoor Air Quality, EPA;
      Executive Director, Phillip Jalbert

      US Congressional Education, Labor Committee fx: 202-226-5398
      Chair: George Miller, D-CA Ranking Member: John Kline, R-MN

      US Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pension Committee fx: 202-224-5128
      Chair: Tom Harkin, D-IA Ranking Member: Michael Enzi, R-WY

      US Department of Health and Human Services fx: 202-690-7203
      Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

      US Department of Justice
      Attorney General Eric Holder
      fx: 202-307-6777

      US White House
      President Barack Obama
      fx: 202-456-2461

      The problem in more detail from Katy’s Exposure Blog:

      • Surviving Mold says:

        From Dr. Scott McMahon, Roswell, New Mexico:

        Response to Dr. Shoemaker’s response to the ACOEM 2011 Position Paper

        I looked forward with some anticipation to read the ACOEM’s 2001 report on the Adverse Human Health Effects Associated with Molds in the Indoor Environment. After all, their 2002 position statement was so filled with holes that even their own membership balked, and one member in particular wrote an article for another journal decrying the lack of transparency and the impact of politics in determining the College’s “position”.

        As such, I eagerly awaited the 2011 report. The College had 9 years to lick its wounds and declare a position that is consistent with the data in the literature. However, my hopes were disappointed greatly.

        Rather than repeat the embarrassment of retaining authors who were known defense experts, the ACOEM this go-around chose to not reveal authorship. Very clever, but not very transparent. Do they have something to hide?

        These new authors (assuming they are not the same as those of 2002) make the same mistakes and assumptions found in the previous position statement from nearly a decade ago. Even more sadly, they have failed to cite any published articles since 2002. They quote the WHO report from 1990 but don’t even mention the WHO report of 2009 . Could that be because the WHO nearly reversed its position in the latter report and it is no longer consistent with the thoughts of the ACOEM 2011 authors’? Perhaps the report was too current to be included in their review. Why not mention the GAO’s report from 2008? Apparently, there has been no relevant data published since 2002? How sad.

        The authors spend roughly ½ of the article trying to prove that toxins from water damaged buildings (WDB) cannot be harmful to humans. They spent much effort trying to disprove a theory which to my understanding no physician who sees ill patients affected by WDB even believes or promotes! Specifically, the authors are convinced that in proving the impossiblility of obtaining a large enough dose of mycotoxins in a WDB to be acutely harmful to humans then they have shown that indoor molds cannot be dangerous to humans. They discussed 3 mice and rat papers , , in great detail to demonstrate how, by extrapolating mice/rat data to humans, it is not possible to acquire a great enough dose by inhalation to cause toxicity.

        Such heroic efforts are wasted however. Those who treat ill humans know that direct toxicity to multiple systems is not the cause of the disease we treat but propose that the damage is caused in genetically susceptible persons who are exposed to low levels of toxin over long periods of time. Instead of direct toxicity to all affected tissues, Dr. Shoemaker et. al. , , have proposed a model of direct and constant stimulation of a small part of the immune system which over months and years leads to the malfunction and dysregulation of nearly any, and possibly every, system of the body. As such, the last ½ of the ACOEM’s position paper is completely irrelevant.

        The title of the ACOEM’s 2011 paper is Adverse Human Health Effects Associated with Molds in the Indoor Environment. Why do the authors ignore all published human data which document historical, physical and lab findings involving thousands of patients? This is supposed to be, after all, a paper on the effects of mold on HUMAN health. Why avoid all the HUMAN data and just give us extrapolations from mouse noses and rat tracheas?

        Dr. Shoemaker’s response to the ACOEM’s position paper is right on. There are many more flaws in the report than I have mentioned and he nails the paper on every point, demonstrating with unquestionable accuracy the failings of the article as well as revealing the lack of the typical transparency and rigors one usually finds in an academic paper. I praise him for his efforts and to his commitment to the healing of people and the curing of this insidious disease.

        Hardin BD, Kelman BJ, Saxon A. Adverse Human Health Effects Associated with Molds in the Indoor Environment. American
        College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Approved by ACOEM Board of Directors on 10/27/2002 found at:
        Craner, J. 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 2008;14:283–298
        World Health Organization. Selected mycotoxins: ochratoxins, trichothecenes, ergot. Report of an expert committee.
        Environmental Health Criteria No. 105. World Health Organization. Geneva, Switzerland: 1990:30,77,169.
        WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality – Dampness and Mould found at:
        GAO Report to the Chairman, Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, U.S. Senate, Indoor Mold, September 2008
        Nikulin M, Reijula K, Jarvis BB, Hintikka EL. Experimental lung mycotoxicosis in mice induced by Stachybotrys atra. Int J Exp
        Pathol. 1996;77(5):213-8
        Rao CY, Brain JD, Burge HA. Reduction of pulmonary toxicity of Stachybotrys chartarum spores by methanol extraction of
        mycotoxins. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2000;66(7):2817-21.
        Rao CY, Burge HA, Brain JD. The time course of responses to intratracheally instilled toxic Stachybotrys chartarum spores in
        rats. Mycopathologia. 2000;149(1):27-34.
        Shoemaker RC, Schaller L, Schmidt P. Mold Warriors. 1st ed. Gateway Press; 2005:59-104
        Research Committee Report on Diagnosis and Treatment of Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome Caused by
        Exposure to the Interior Environment of Water-Damaged Buildings found at:

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