Flooding aftermath: mold

    Health officials say to cautiously but quickly remove water from flooded homes. Mold is likely to start growing is areas that are not dry within 48 hours.

    Up to ten inches of rain dumped on parts of the Delaware Valley these past few days – submerging streets and people’s basements. Kerry Grens reports from WHYY’s health and science desk that events like these are invitation for mold growth.
    (Photo: Flickr/MichiganMoves)

    Mold is everywhere. It just needs a bit of moisture to start colonizing drywall or carpet – and this week definitely provided plenty of moisture. Dan Rostelli, the owner of Mold Detection and Remediation Specialists in Philadelphia, says to turn dehumidifiers and fans on immediately to dry up any leaks or flooding.

    More info:

    Philadelphia’s Environmental Engineering department:
    215-685-7342

    Delaware Healthy Homes hotline:
    1-800-464-HELP

    Rostelli: There’s molds like aspergillus, penicillium, chaetomium, stachybotrys, those are known allergenic types of molds and those are the kinds of molds you would see start to colonize over time if those surfaces in the basement, attic or any part of the house gets wet and isn’t completely dried within 48 hours.

    Anti-microbial chemicals can help prevent growth too.

    Health officials say to cautiously but quickly remove water from flooded homes. Palak Raval-Nelson, Philadelphia’s director of environmental health services, says to first make sure there is no electrical hazard, then don gloves, boots and a mask before tackling standing water.

    Raval-Nelson:
    If you’re going to be dealing with the water you want to take precautions because you don’t know what else is in the water. Nails could be floating in it. I don’t mean to be disgusting but if there were critters that drowned, rodents, or whatever they could be in the water as well.

    Sewage is also common in floodwater, both inside the home and in puddles in yards and streets. The forecast calls for dry skies Saturday.

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