FEMA Encourages Prompt Flood Cleanup To Help Prevent Health Problems

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Release date: 
October 2, 2003
Release Number: 
1495-11

New Castle, DE -- A major health concern after flooding is the growth of molds and bacteria. Concerns relating to mold exposure, which can develop following excessive water in your home, should be addressed quickly in order to prevent illness.

When airborne mold spores are present in large numbers, they can trigger allergic reactions, asthma episodes, infections and other respiratory problems. Infants, children, immune compromised patients, pregnant women, individuals with existing respiratory conditions, and the elderly appear to be at higher risks for adverse health effects from mold. In addition, exposure can cause development of an allergy to mold, resulting in long-term problems.

Dampness in basements, walls, carpets, and wood caused by the recent flooding, provide an environment for mold to flourish. If you can see or smell mold, take steps to eliminate the excess moisture, and to clean up and remove the mold as soon as possible.

Look for mold growth throughout the house, including the attic, basement and crawlspaces. Have professionals check for mold growth in areas that are difficult to reach, such as heating/cooling ducts and wall insulation. Wash all items that came in contact with floodwaters with a household chlorine bleach solution of four ounces of bleach to one gallon of water. Leave the bleach solution on the item for at least 15 minutes before rinsing off with clean water.

When using a bleach solution, open windows and wear rubber gloves. If you have any questions, call your local health department.

On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages Citizen Corps, the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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