Occupational Health & Safety

AIHA Offers Mold Resources for Homeowners

Water is not the only danger of flooding. The mold that may occur after water has receded can be far more hazardous to the homeowner and family.

The American Industrial Hygiene Association® (AIHA) strongly encourages homeowners who face flooding issues as a result of extreme weather conditions to obtain a home inspection for mold. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has already named 2011 to be one of the most extreme weather disaster years, estimating more than $32 billion in damages.

Extreme wet weather has caused flooding throughout the Midwest and Atlantic states and parts of western Canada, leaving homeowners to salvage their belongings and begin the cleanup process.

Water is not the only danger of flooding. The mold that may occur after water has receded can be far more hazardous to the homeowner and family. The molds that grow on damp building materials are found in the soil and are adapted to grow on a wide variety of materials. Outdoors, molds live in soil, on plants, and on dead or decaying matter. Different mold species are adapted to different moisture conditions from very wet to just damp. The CDC, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine, the World Health Organization, and Health Canada all agree that living or working in a building with mold results in increased risk of respiratory disease among other effects.

People who may be affected more severely and quickly than others include:

  • Infants and children
  • Elderly people
  • Pregnant women
  • Individuals with respiratory conditions or allergies and asthma
  • Persons with weakened immune systems

A professional experienced in mold evaluation and remediation, such as an industrial hygienist, can address extensive mold growth in a building. It is important to address and correct large mold problems as soon as possible by first fixing the source of the moisture problem and removing contaminated materials, then cleaning the surfaces, and finally drying the area completely.

For more information on mold remediation and resources on hiring remediation professionals, visit AIHA.org.

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