CLINTON, Miss. -- Mold in flood-damaged houses can cause health problems if it is not eliminated. People with asthma, allergies and other breathing conditions may be more sensitive to mold, and people with immune suppression are more susceptible to mold infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Quick action can minimize the damage caused by mold and stop its spread. Do not wait for an inspector to begin clean-up. If possible, take pictures of the damage.
The CDC and the Environmental Protection Agency recommend the following steps:
- Open windows and doors and use fans to dry out the building as quickly as possible. If possible, use wet-vacs to remove water and use dehumidifiers in closed spaces.
- When working in an affected building, wear protective eye-wear, latex or rubber gloves and a mask.
- Remove baseboards and soaked drywall to a foot above the watermark and discard. Drain walls by drilling holes or pulling non-porous paneling away from the studs. Check the interior of walls for mold.
- Remove porous items that have been wet for more than 48 hours and cannot be thoroughly cleaned and dried - carpeting and carpet padding, upholstery, wallpaper, drywall, floor and ceiling tiles, insulation, leather, wood, paper, food and clothing.
If there is any doubt about whether the item has been affected by mold, discard it.
- Hard, non-porous surfaces (metal, glass, solid wood, plastic, etc.) should be washed with non-ammonia detergent and hot water. Scrub rough surfaces like concrete. Disinfect all cleaned surfaces with a solution of water and bleach; rinse after 10 minutes. Never mix bleach with ammonia.
If the area to be cleaned exceeds 10 square feet, consult a professional contractor or get a copy of the EPA guide Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings
(available at www.epa.gov/mold/i-e-r.html).
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.