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Okay Robin, thanks. Well, from here in California, a brand new threshold in the question of toxic mold: whether your contractor is responsible and the health effects on your family. A 22 million-dollar settlement. And ABC's Heather Moward is here now. I'm gonna take it with this hand, right. This is the mold we're talking about, right along here, and it can be even more dangerous according to the settlement.
Exactly. This is toxic mold. Folks need to look out for this, and this settlement was the very first settlement involving or alleging brain damage of a child.
At five years old, Kellan Gorman cannot talk, is still in diapers, and requires constant supervision. "He's always going to be way behind. Whether he stays a 1-1/2-year-old or he gets to a 2-year-old, gets to a 5-year-oldâ€¦ nobody can say exactly how far he's going to get." Just before Kellen was born, his family moved into a newly constructed home. But within months they noticed odd growths on the walls. Family members developed chronic coughing and other health problems. "It looked like humidity had simply settled on the walls. "We never suspected that there was any health problem until the environmental engineer comes in and says, 'This is not safe for people; you should move out.'" Experts told them that some of the lumber used to construct their house was moldy. That mold grew and seeped through the walls and the floors of the house, exposing the family to an organic toxin that their doctor said severely damaged young Kellan's brain. The family sued 17 companies involved with the construction of their house, and now a landmark settlement has been reached for 22.6 million dollars. "This is a case that puts attention on the fact that mold exposure can lead not just to the old culprits of respiratory and pulmonary problems, but can lead to brain injury through an immunologic process." The company that supplied the moldy lumber said it settled after the judge would not allow some of its expert witnesses to testify. It has disputed the link between mold and the damage to the child's brain and admitted no wrongdoing. The firm issued a statement saying that if the suit "â€¦ would have been presented to the jury, we believe that the jury would have completely vindicated the company." The family says most of the money will go to the lifetime care of their son and that they hope the settlement will raise awareness of this hidden danger.
Diane, this piece of wood is actually from the Gorman's house. This is something folks need to be aware of, dark mold just like this, but there is also mold that is barely visible to the human eye. So what should folks do if they are concerned about this is actually call someone called an industrial hygienistâ€¦ who had ever heard of that?â€¦ and they can come into your house and test it out.
Okay. And find out on our website more about this if you like. Thanks to you, Heather.