FEMA Urges Residents to Continue Using Caution When Cleaning Up Mold

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Release date: 
January 14, 2008
Release Number: 
1738-002

CARSON CITY, Nev. -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Nevada Department of Health have cautioned Lyon County residents that the recent flood could cause a potential mold problem. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) encourages residents to be informed about safe ways to remove mold.

"Our federal partners, the state and FEMA are working together to inform the public about the health hazards associated with mold, what can be done to minimize it and the safest ways to remove it," said FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Mike Karl.

Mold is likely to occur in homes and buildings affected by flooding. According to health officials, mold has the potential to affect the health of family members of all ages. Exposure to mold can occur during cleanup, so to minimize exposure consider using a breathing mask or respirator, wear rubber gloves and take breaks in a well-ventilated area.

"To keep your family safe, we encourage residents to follow the advice of experts to clean or remove mold properly," said State Coordinating Officer Frank Siracusa, chief of the Nevada Division of Emergency Management.

Additional information about mold:

MOLD - WHAT IS IT?
Mold is a simple microscopic organism found virtually everywhere, indoors and outdoors. When mold is present in large quantities it can cause allergic symptoms similar to those caused by plant pollen.

SHOULD I BE CONCERNED ABOUT MOLD IN MY HOME?
Yes, when airborne mold spores are present in large numbers they can cause allergic reactions, asthma episodes, infections and other respiratory problems.

WHO IS AT GREATEST RISK WHEN EXPOSED TO MOLD?
The following individuals appear to be at higher risk for adverse health affects from mold:

  • Infants and children;
  • Elderly;
  • Immune compromised individuals (HIV, liver disease, chemotherapy, etc.);
  • Pregnant women; and
  • Individuals with respiratory conditions such as allergies, multiple chemical sensitivity and asthma.

People with these conditions should consult a physician if they are experiencing health problems.

WHAT CAN I SAVE? WHAT SHOULD I TOSS?
Porous materials can trap mold. Items such as paper, rags, wallboard/drywall, plaster and rotten wood should be thrown out. Harder materials such as glass, plastic and metal can be kept after they are cleaned and disinfected.

REMOVING MOLDY MATERIALS

  • Wear a filter mask and gloves to avoid contact with the mold;
  • Remove porous materials such as ceiling tiles, drywall, carpeting and wood products;
  • Carpeting can be a difficult problem because drying does not remove dead mold spores. If the mold is in high concentrations, disposal of the carpet should be considered;
  • Allow areas to dry two to three days before replacing damaged materials; and
  • If the drywall is flooded, take it off the wall at least 12 inches above the highest water mark.

GENERAL MOLD CLEAN-UP PROCEDURES

  • Identify and correct the moisture source. Remove all water and fix any leaks before cleaning;
  • Clean, disinfect, and dry the moldy area; and
  • Bag and dispose of any material that has a moldy residue, such as rags, paper, leaves or debris.

SOAP CLEANUP

  • Wear protective gloves and a filter mask;
  • Use non-ammonia soap, detergent or a commercial cleaner in hot water. Scrub the entire area affected by mold;
  • Use a stiff brush or cleaning pad; and
  • Rinse with clean water.

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Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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