As many of us know, many of our communities have been affected by recent devastating flooding. With this flooding comes the aftermath and clean-up process. While we go back into the areas affected, it is important to keep ourselves safe from harmful contaminates that could be lingering in the debris. With prolong standing of water in structures mold becomes a high risk to our indoor air quality. It is imperative that clean-up is done properly, as effects from flooding can have long term consequences. If contaminated materials are not properly dried or removed they can be a breeding ground not only for mold but for other microorganisms (i.e. viruses and bacteria).
Even though not all mold is toxic it does pose an inhalation hazard, especially to those deemed to be the at risk community. It can trigger allergic reactions and can greatly affect those with asthma or other respiratory problems. Mold can also continue to damage structures and material after the flooding stops for long periods of time afterwards. The EPA has a variety of reference materials and recommendations to help homeowners safely clean up the mold in their homes. Below are 2 links to the EPA website for flood clean-up and mold clean-up.
It is recommended that everyone in the area where mold clean-up is taking place to use (at minimum) an N95 respirator (which can be found at local hardware stores like Menards, Home Depot, Lowes, etc.), gloves, goggles, long sleeve, long pants, and boots. When done with mold clean-up, clothing used should be immediately washed and dried and all equipment used should be thoroughly cleaned with detergent and water and dried completely.