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of Health Warns of Potential for Mold Growth in Flooded Buildings
HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As floodwaters
from Tropical Storm Lee recede, the PennsylvaniaDepartment
of Health is warning residents of the potential for mold growth in homes and
"Damp conditions from flooding create the perfect breeding grounds for mold
to grow, which can happen as soon as two days after flooding occurs,"
Secretary of Health Dr. Eli Avila said. "It's important that you dry out
your home or business as quickly as possible to avoid costly repairs and
health issues in the future."
Molds are simple microscopic organisms found virtually everywhere, indoors
and outdoors. When airborne mold spores are present in large numbers they
can cause allergic reactions, asthma episodes, infections and other
People who are at higher risk from the effects of mold include infants and
children; older Pennsylvanians; people with compromised immune systems
because of HIV infection, liver disease, or chemotherapy; pregnant women;
and people with existing respiratory conditions such as allergies, multiple
chemical sensitivity and asthma. People with these conditions should consult
a physician if they are experiencing health problems.
Be aware that exposure to mold can occur during floodwater cleanup. To
minimize exposure, use a mask or respirator, wear rubber gloves and take
breaks in a well-ventilated area.
Here are some tips for cleaning mold:
-- Identify and correct the moisture source. Then clean, disinfect and
the moldy area. Keep the area well-ventilated and dispose of
that has moldy residue, such as rags, paper, leaves or debris.
-- Porous materials can trap molds. Items such as paper, rags,
ceiling tiles, sheetrock, carpeting and rotten wood should be thrown
-- Wear protective gloves, such as rubber dishwashing gloves, when
with moldy materials.
-- Carpeting can be a difficult problem. Drying does not remove the
mold spores. If there is heavy mold on the carpet, the best course
action may be to throw it away. If the area was flooded, remove
sheetrock to at least 12 inches above the high water mark. Allow the
area to dry for two or three days before replacing damaged
-- Use non-ammonia soap or detergent, or a commercial cleaner in hot
Scrub the entire affected area thoroughly using a stiff brush or
cleaning pad, then rinse with clean water.
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