Mold Can Make You Feel Miserable, Says State Health Official

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Release date: 
April 29, 2010
Release Number: 
1894-030

WEST WARWICK, R.I.  -- "Mold can make you feel miserable,” said Bob Vanderslice, team leader of the Rhode Island Department of Health's Healthy Homes and Environment initiative, speaking at a West Warwick duplex damaged in the March floods.

"Mold contamination is especially dangerous to people with respiratory issues, and to people with compromised immune systems," said Vanderslice.

Duplex-owner Jeremy Taft and friends had to hand-carry his tenants out of waist-deep water that overflowed from nearby Natick Pond during the height of the flood.  Taft’s duplex, which was also damaged in flooding earlier in the month, suffered enough damage to force his tenants into hotels and Taft into gutting the interior of the 100-year-old structure.

Flood water rose midway up the first floor walls of the three-story River Street building.  Taft said he had only recently completed a complete renovation of the building and moved in renters.

"Mold grows in moisture," Vanderslice said, in describing how mold infects a home. "Any time you can see mold or smell mold, you’ve got a problem."

Mold problems often appear five to six weeks after a flood has occurred, according to FEMA’s Robert Archila, a FEMA hazard mitigation specialist, stationed at one of several FEMA mitigation information booths at local stores.

"Porous materials can trap molds," said Archila, "Items such as paper, rags, wallboard and rotten wood should be thrown out."

"It is also important to wear proper safety equipment when cleaning up mold," Archila said.

"Rubber gloves, preferably up to the elbows, correct breathing masks, and protective suits are a must, said Archila.

According to Archila, harder materials such as glass, plastic and metal can be kept after they are cleaned, disinfected and allowed to dry.

In addition to providing information about cleaning up and reducing mold and mildew, FEMA specialists are available at the mitigation booths to discuss other flooding-related issues such as: protecting electrical systems, furnaces, and other appliances; reinforcing structures; safeguarding valuables; and securing other important personal property.  Information on flood insurance is also available.

Locations and hours of operation for the FEMA mitigation information booths are:

Lowe's
510 Quaker Lane
Warwick, R.I. 02866
7 a.m. to 6 p.m. through May 17, 2010
8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays, closed Tuesdays

Lowe's
247 Garfield Ave
Cranston, R.I. 02920
7 a.m. to 6 p.m. through May 17, 2010
8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays, closed Tuesdays

Home Depot
1255 Ten Rod Road
North Kingstown, R.I. 02852
7 a.m. to 6 p.m. through May 17, 2010
8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays, closed Tuesdays

Sam's Club
25 Pace Blvd
Warwick, R.I. 02886
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through May 17, 2010
9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a. m to 6 p.m. Sunday, closed Tuesdays

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

This news article has been corrected from the original release.

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
State/Tribal Government or Region: 
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