ST. GEORGE – Recent flooding and water damage have brought an increase in concerns and questions about mold.
There are thousands of mold species and it exists everywhere in our environment, indoors and out. Molds thrive mainly in moist environments, so a flooded house provides an ideal environment for molds to start growing within 72 hours or so.
To prevent mold growth it is crucial to eliminate the water source and dry the area as soon as possible. Wet carpet pads should be discarded. Carpet itself can sometimes be salvaged if taken up, dried thoroughly, and steam cleaned.
There are local home cleaning contractors that can be hired to clean and repair your home following water damage. They can also clean up mold if it is already present in your home. Look in the yellow pages under Mold Inspection & Removal or Fire & Water Damage Restoration. Most Health Departments and insurances (including those in Utah) do not provide mold testing or removal.
Testing for mold requires air sampling that can be expensive and requires a qualified contractor to perform. Eliminating moisture and clean-up should be the first step.
The most common mold-related health concern is allergic reaction, which can include breathing difficulties, congestion, eye and throat irritation, cough, and rash. Mold can also aggravate individuals with asthma.
The presence of black-colored or any other type of mold in bathrooms or other areas in the home does not necessarily indicate a health hazard. Small areas can be dried and cleaned with appropriate cleaning products – see the EPA’s Mold Cleanup Guidelines for information.
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Republished with permission from the Southwest Utah Public Health Department.