In the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac some flood-damaged home will require special attention to avoid or correct a mold population explosion, according to LSU AgCenter housing specialist Claudette Reichel.
“Mold is likely to multiply on materials that stay wet for more than two or three days,” she said. “The longer mold is allowed to grow, the greater the hazard and the harder it is to control.”
As soon as floodwaters recede and it is safe to return, don’t delay clean-up and dry out.
“Take photographs to document damages for insurance purposes, and then get started,” Reichel said. “It is not wise to wait for the adjuster to see it in person.”
Most homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover mold damages or clean-up costs, she said.
Molds produce spores that float and spread easily through the air, forming new mold growths – colonies – when they find the right conditions, which are moisture, nutrients, nearly anything organic and a place to grow.
Although there is wide variation in how people are affected by mold, long-term or high exposure is unhealthy for anyone.
Exposure to mold can trigger allergic reactions and asthma attacks, may suppress the immune system or have other effects. Some types of mold can produce mycotoxins in certain conditions, which can be present in live and dead spores and fragments in the air.
“Black mold” is a misleading term because many types are black.
Mold testing is not usually needed and is rarely useful to answer questions about health concerns. Yet, some insurance companies and legal services may require sampling as a form of documentation, Reichel said.
“Professional mold remediation contractors may test before and after clean-up to provide evidence of the clean-up’s effectiveness,” she said.
To clean up mold in your flooded home refer to the detailed information available online at www.epa.gov/mold.
See and learn more about taking care of your home after a flood at www.LSUAgCenter.com/LaHouse and by visiting LaHouse Home and Landscape Resource Center in Baton Rouge.Johnny Morgan
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