Multi-system exposure related illness (MERI)

The Global Health Network has released a new paper titled “Common Toxins in our Homes, Schools and Workplaces.” According to an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) spokesman, indoor air pollution causes 50% of illnesses globally. This statistic should catch the attention of every physician, every lawmaker and every layperson reading this paper. That’s more than all the cancers and all the heart disease combined. It is time we started to pay more attention to the indoor air we breathe. It is staggering to comprehend the enormous impact on our global society as literally millions of individuals and families are harmed by contaminants inside our homes, schools and workplaces.

Changes over the years in building philosophy, construction materials, pesticides, usage patterns, etc., along with new awareness and improved testing capabilities, have brought us to the understanding that some buildings are sick and can make their occupants sick. Shoddy construction practices and environmental disasters also contribute. Americans spend, on average, 22 hours a day indoors. As such, it is a disconcerting thought that the structures we live in, work at and where we educate our children might lead to significant and even deadly health problems.

Radon, asbestos, products of combustion (such as carbon monoxide and cigarette smoke), volatile organic compounds (such as formaldehyde, benzene, pesticides and some personal care products), particulate matter, lead and a number of known and emerging disease-causing microbiological agents are discussed in this paper. However, the most space is reserved for the discussion regarding the secondary metabolic products of molds and bacteria released into the air of water-damaged buildings as these potentially may harm the most people and because of the disinformation war currently being waged suggesting that human disease from these toxins cannot exist.

Naysayer articles spend valuable print space suggesting that disease from mold can only occur after ingestion, or can only occur in the presence of large amounts of aerosolized toxin, or can only occur in an acute exposure. In light of the overwhelming peer-reviewed and journal-published evidence to the contrary, it is unimaginable that such papers are still being inked, are still being used in courts as “evidence” and are still considered relevant in any way. It’s the “Big Lie” all over again – say something long enough and loud enough and many will believe the lie.

“Big Business” has been shown repeatedly to use this tactic regarding the dangers of their products, and the histories of such substances as radium, asbestos and coal are evidence of the same. Workers in these industries, and other industries, were exposed to dangerous materials for decades while those making the profits knew the potential harmful health effects.

Mold illness, mold-related illness and biotoxin – related illness are euphemisms which are collectively referred to as Multi-system Exposure Related Illness (MERI) in this paper. MERI is a multi-symptom, multi-system disease occurring in many people due usually to long-term exposure to the interior of water-damaged buildings. While a massive acute exposure can lead to MERI, the most common mechanism is chronic exposure to low level toxins leading to an inflammatory response in the body. Written by treating physicians and researchers in the field, this paper is a collaborative effort which provides detailed information on the pathophysiology and diagnosis of MERI, as well as details regarding the treatment protocols used by some of the leading physicians.

It is time to move beyond the focus of “establishing the fact of mold disease,” because it has already been established in numerous research papers and in the treatment of thousands of patients. It is time for our national and world leaders to develop a comprehensive public health response to this devastating epidemic that has the potential to cripple our individual and collective futures. The paper provides specific recommendations in the Call to Action. The Global Indoor Health Network looks forward to collaborating with government agencies and organizations in the public and private sector in this search for better health and safer living and working conditions.

Authors: Scott W. McMahon, MD; Janette Hope, MD; Alan R. Vinitsky, MD; Jack Dwayne Thrasher, PhD; William J. Rea, MD; and Michael R. Gray, MD.

The paper can be found, in its entirety, at:

The Global Indoor Health Network (GIHN) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is uniting experts and laypersons from the world. GIHN’s vision is a global community of individuals and organizations working together to ensure that comprehensive information and guidance concerning medical treatment, investigative techniques and solutions are available to address the effects of contaminants in the indoor environment of homes, schools and businesses. Visit our website at:


  1. Cheryl Wisecup Cheryl Wisecup United States says:

    Thanks for sharing this important information about this serious public health issue.  The Global Indoor Health Network is comprised of experts and laypersons from around the world who are uniting to share their knowledge and expertise regarding the health effects of mold and other indoor air pollutants.

  2. Marcie McGovern Marcie McGovern United States says:

    Thanks so much for bringing attention to a global tragedy. More doctors need to be educated what being exposed too contaminants in Water Damaged Buildings. Thanks to News Medical for helping get the truth out. Global Indoor Health has been getting people from all over the world joining or taking notice. It could save a life. This is happening to thousands and more every day and would love to see more awareness. Again, News Medical......Thank you for posting. Sincerely, Marcie McGovern.

  3. Erik Johnson Erik Johnson United States says:

    I am a survivor of the outbreak of mystery illness that led to the creation of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, as profiled in the Oct. GIHN newsletter.

    The story of "Mold at Ground Zero for CFS" is told in
    Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker's books, "Mold Warriors" and Surviving Mold".

      As Jeri Kurre explains in her testimony to the NIH Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Advisory Committee, no CFS researcher has ever gone back to examine the evidence.

    "And to all of you CFS researchers who claim to be unaware of this particular evidence, I want to say this:
    You are now.

    What are you going to do about it?ml

  4. Mabel Vs Mabel Mabel Vs Mabel United States says:

    Most neglected invisible illness out there... Out of several doctor's which I visited, not one asked about my home or work environment (aside from Stress).

    You better believe my rental home was TOXIC!!! Aspergillus & Penicillum.

    Thank you for sharing and informing the public of this hidden epidemic of invisible illnesses.

  5. Barbara Rutgers Barbara Rutgers United States says:

    This information is vital to treating a multitude of symptoms. A good practitioner will seek the cause of an illness to restore health. Don't let anyone dismiss these very serious and disabling symptoms as a psychological abnormality. Too many people become, literally, unable to help themselves when in a sick building. The longer the exposure the more severe the long-term effects. If you think you are in a building that is making you sick get out right away. There is no more important action to take. Don't doubt yourself! Protect yourself - and find a knowledgable Doctor.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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