AUGUSTA, Maine. -- Floodwaters can bring about many ruinous effects, not the least of which is mold. Disaster recovery and health officials continue to urge flood victims to reexamine flood-damaged property thoroughly for developing mold and mildew in order to avoid possible health problems.
Water-damaged homes provide a damp environment in which mold can flourish. It is usually visible as a fuzzy growth or a discoloration of surfaces. It may also be accompanied by a musty, unpleasant odor. Residents are advised to use care when cleaning mold and people with respiratory problems should avoid contact with mold altogether. Those who are sensitive to mold spores may experience wheezing, difficulty breathing, nasal and sinus congestion, burning and watering eyes, dry cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or skin irritation.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) web site advises that anyone going into a mold infested house should wear a respirator rated N-95, as well as rubber gloves and goggles.
Some important points to consider during mold cleanup:
- Do not use your air conditioning unit until it has been checked out by a professional. If the system contains mold, it may be spread throughout the house.
- Porous materials such as carpet, drywall, insulation, mattresses, upholstered furniture and ceiling tiles infected by mold should be discarded.
- For non-porous materials such as tile or floors
- Be sure to maintain good ventilation.
- The surface should be washed with a household detergent or disinfectant, like bleach, and dried thoroughly.
- Fans near open windows or doors can be used to assist the drying process.
For more information on mold, visit the EPA online at www.epa.gov/mold/moldresources.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.