For Immediate Release: April 27, 2007
Media Contact: Communication Office
BURLINGTON – A home that’s been flooded can provide ideal conditions for the growth and proliferation of mold. The Vermont Department of Heath is advising anyone who has moisture in the basement of their homes after the storm last week to take precautions once the water recedes or is pumped out.
The growth of mold can generate microscopic spores that can create a health concern by triggering allergies or allergy-like symptoms affecting the upper respiratory system.
“The most practical and reliable tools for detecting a mold problem after a flood are your eyes and nose,” said William Bress, Ph.D, state toxicologist for the Vermont Department of Health. “If you see something that looks like mold, or you detect an earthy or musty smell, you should assume a mold problem exists. The presence of moisture or worsening allergy-like symptoms can also be indicators of a mold problem.”
The Health Department recommends that Vermonters take the following practical steps for the clean-up and removal of indoor mold:
- Dry any and all materials that got wet as soon as possible.
- Remove and dispose of mold-contaminated materials, especially
porous items that may have absorbed or become saturated with moisture – including sheet rock, insulation, plaster, carpet/carpet pad, ceiling tiles, wood (other than solid wood), and paper products.
- Clean hard surfaces like plastics, concrete, glass and metal with either detergent or a weak bleach solution. Disinfect surfaces with a mixture of 1/4 cup of bleach per gallon of water, and apply to surfaces where mold growth was visible before cleaning.
Using a weak bleach solution on such surfaces, or painting or sealing over sheetrock and ceiling tiles after water or moisture damage is only a short-term solution. While the top layer of mold may have been removed, the mold beneath the surface is unlikely to have been affected and will continue to grow. Good cleanup is important. Using a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter vacuum can help.
If other special cleaning products are used during the cleanup, carefully read and follow label instructions. Also, provide enough fresh air. Do not mix household products together unless the directions allow it. Use protective gloves or equipment when necessary.
If there is a water leak, take steps to stop the leak. Limit the use of humidifiers, especially in tightly enclosed areas.
If you see large amounts of mold growth on porous surfaces, consider hiring a professional to remove the material. Use a good respirator and keep children and pets out of the area while work is underway.
For more information on mold visit the Health Department website at: http://healthvermont.gov/enviro/indoor_air/Mold.aspx