Nearly a month after hurricane Sandy battered the east coast, homeowners in New York and New Jersey are still trying to dry out their homes and assess all of the damage. For those whose homes were flooded, a major problem they will face is mold.
Mold spores thrive in flooded homes, where everything is damp and there is plenty of organic material as a base for them to grow and thrive. They often cause respiratory problems, irritate the skin and eyes, and can lead to lung infections.
Here at EBL, the topic of mold in homes is not a new one. Just last year, we wrote about a systematic review by the Cochrane Collaboration that details the best ways to prevent respiratory problems caused by mold.
Luckily, there is plenty of solid evidence on effective ways to cope with mold in your home. Joe Laquatra, a professor of design and environmental analysis at Cornell, is an expert in coping with mold in homes and a member of the New York State Center for Indoor Environmental Quality. He has developed a comprehensive, evidence-based information sheet that details the health effects of mold in homes and the best methods for removing it.
Among his recommendations are:
- Homes that are wet for more than 48 hours are at risk of developing mold.
- It’s best to discard wet ceiling tiles, cellulose insulation, and often drywall as well.
- If mold is detected over more than ten square feet of a home, the best course of action is to hire a mold remediation contractor. Another fact sheet offers tips about selecting a contractor.
The take-home message: Mold is a serious issue in homes that have experienced flooding. It’s important to understand all of the facts to avoid health problems caused by mold.