Storm Water Can Carry a Potential for Toxic Mold

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Release date: 
June 3, 2003
Release Number: 
1462-38

Lenexa, KS - State and Federal Emergency Management officials are concerned about mold and mildew problems in people?s homes due to the recent heavy rains. "Mold could become a problem in your home if there is enough moisture available to allow mold to thrive and multiply," said Mike Hall, Federal Coordinating Officer. "Dampness in basements, walls, carpets, and wood caused by storms, provide an environment for mold to flourish. You can also be exposed to mold through skin contact and eating."

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is warning residents that exposure to high spore levels can aggravate existing allergic conditions. Mold can also cause structural damage to your home. Similarly, when wood goes through a period of wetting, then drying, it can eventually warp and cause walls to crack or become structurally weak.

For some people, a relatively small number of mold spores can cause health problems. The basic rule is, if you can see or smell mold, take steps to eliminate the excess moisture, and to cleanup and remove the mold. It is important to quickly identify and correct any moisture sources before health problems develop. Infants, children, immune compromised patients, pregnant women, individuals with existing respiratory conditions, (allergies, multiple chemical sensitivity, and asthma) and the elderly appear to be at higher risks for adverse health effects from mold.

Allergic reactions may be the most common health problem of mold exposure. Typical symptoms reported (alone or in combination) include:

  • Respiratory problems, such as wheezing, and difficulty in breathing
  • Nasal and sinus congestion
  • Eyes-burning, watery and/or reddened eyes, blurry vision, light sensitivity
  • Dry, hacking cough
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Skin irritation
  • Central nervous system problems (constant headaches, memory problems, and mood changes)
  • Aches and pains
  • Possible fever

You can tell if you have mold in your home if you can see it, or if there is an earthy or musty odor. Allergic individuals may experience the symptoms listed above. Visible mold growth is found underneath materials where water has damaged surfaces, or behind walls. Look for discoloration and leaching from plaster.

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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