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As floodwaters recede, mold concerns grow in St. Louis

After extreme flooding in the St. Louis area, residents are starting to return to their homes, only to find that they have suffered extensive damage as a result of the floodwaters. While homeowners survey the damage, they wonder what they can salvage and what they should get rid of.

They’re also wondering about another serious problem that may be lurking: mold.

“With all the flood waters and the rain, we are really starting to see some black mold getting into the homes,” Julie Weber, the direct of Missouri Poison Center at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, said.

“We are trying to help people understand the risk for it and the how to get that out of their home,” Weber said.

The biggest challenge homeowner’s who are discovering mold growth face is the cleanup.

“With the cleaning up after the flood waters, once they have kind of gone away, it’s very labor intensive,” said Weber. “But it starts with first protecting yourself. You want to have on appropriate equipment when cleaning up mold.” Protective gear for cleaning up mold includes goggles, a respiratory mask, and gloves.

Once property owners are wearing the proper protective gear, they can begin discarding or cleaning the materials that have been damaged by mold.

According to Weber, “You have to get things that are wet out of the home or whatever area you are cleaning up. Anything that’s been really wet for at least 48 hours really needs to be disposed of or thrown out.” That includes furnishings, such as mattresses and pillows, as well as household materials, such as carpeting and carpet padding, wallpaper, and dry wall. And while it might be difficult to do, any cherished items that are wet for more than 48 hours – stuffed animals, books, etc. – should also be discarded. Mold can start to grow on the surfaces of these items and can spread throughout the rest of your home, so it’s important to make sure that all items are properly handled. Cleaning up mold damage is a big undertaking.

When cleaning up water and mold damage, it’s also important to make sure that the area is properly ventilated to facilitate thorough drying. That includes setting up fans near open window and doors to move the mold spores outdoors so that they don’t spread through the rest of the home. Additionally, dehumidifiers can also be used to speed up drying.

If the area isn’t thoroughly dried, mold growth can return, so making sure that the property is well-ventilated during the cleaning process is extremely important. Mold growth can pose serious health risks, which is why completely cleaning an affected property is so crucial.

Mold Inspection & Testing St. Louis has years of experience performing mold assessments in homes throughout the city and the surrounding areas. To confirm the presence of mold, we suggest homeowners who have been affected by water damage arrange for mold testing from a reputable company. To speak with an MI&T representative, call 314.480.6964.

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