Mold Growth in Storm Damaged Homes


Superstorm Sandy and other major storms in the Northeast that impacted states like New York and New Jersey caused severe and obvious damage to many properties. This damage is mostly seen as wind, water and flood damage.

While these damage events are serious, there is another outcome to these events that most people aren’t aware of or take seriously — Mold.

Mold is a type of fungi that feeds off of organic matter and needs moisture to grow. Nearly all building materials are made from organic matter (carpet, sheet rock, wood, paint, etc.). The moisture for mold can come from something as major as a flooded room to something as minor as a slow-dripping roof leak or pipe. It can also get moisture from the air via humidity.

The more serious mold growths are usually not seen around a property. This is because they occur in hidden areas where moisture tends to pool and sit. These areas include wall, floor and ceiling cavities, and crawlspaces. Other semi-visual locations where mold commonly grows includes cabinets under sinks, closets, basements and attics.

People will sometimes see or smell mold, but this isn’t always the case. Mold can go undetected, even when mold spores have gone airborne.

Most people don’t consider mold to be a serious threat. This is a critical mistake as a mold contamination within a property can pose a serious health risk to anyone living or working in that environment.

Mold is considered to be a biological contaminant that can cause severe health problems when individuals are exposed to it. Many of the milder mold species that exist can cause allergy-like reactions, including itchy, irritated eyes, nasal congestion, nose bleeds, coughing, and flu-like symptoms. Although these reactions are usually not lethal, exposure to the most dangerous mold species, Stachybotrys Chartarum (also known as “black mold” or “toxic mold”), can be severely damaging to anyone who is exposed. Many of the more severe reactions to Stachybotrys exposure include kidney damage, damage to the nervous system and immune system, brain damage, and even death. Those who are the most susceptible to these reactions include the immune-compromised, the elderly, and young children.

Exposure to any type of mold can also exacerbate the ailments of people suffering from asthma and other respiratory problems.

It is imperative to seek out professional assistance when experiencing a mold contamination at your property. Failure to seek out appropriate help can worsen the problem.

Learn More About Mold: To learn more about mold, how it grows, and its impact on our indoor environment and human health, visit the What is Mold? page.

Finding a Mold Company: If you have decided that you would like to seek out a mold company to provide you with information about inspections, testing or remediation, click here to find a certified company in your area.

 

About author

This article was written by Heather Reynolds

Heather is Certified Industrial Hygienist through the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA). A Biology graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, she has dedicated her field of study to Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) with a focus on fungi (mold) and allergens such as dust and pollens.

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