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3 Things to know about mold after a flood

After a flood, the indoor air quality in your home or office may appear to be the least of your problems. However, failure to remove contaminated materials and to reduce moisture and humidity can present serious long-term health risks.

Standing water and wet materials can become a breeding ground for microorganisms: bacteria, mold, and viruses. They can cause disease, trigger allergic reactions, and continue to damage materials long after the flood. These microorganisms can become airborne and then can be inhaled. When floodwaters contain sewage or decaying animal carcasses, infectious disease is of concern. Even if the water appears clean, microorganisms can cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.

Professional assessment of buildings & homes should be completed for health reasons and to lessen structural damage. Professional assessments can provide recommendations for which materials should be removed and what can be cleaned.

Building materials should also be tested for the presence of asbestos fibers and lead-based paint. Asbestos is a mineral fiber commonly used in the past in a variety of building construction materials for insulation and as a fire retardant. Some products that may contain asbestos are pipe and furnace insulation materials; asbestos and cement shingles, siding, and roofing; millboard; resilient floor tiles, the backing on vinyl sheet flooring, and floor tile adhesives; soundproofing or decorative material; patching and joint compound; certain fireproof gloves; and stove pads. Asbestos can cause lung cancer, mesothelioma (a cancer of the chest and abdominal linings), and asbestosis (irreversible lung scarring that can be fatal). The risk of lung cancer increases with the number of fibers inhaled. Asbestos, when damaged by a flood, should be repaired or removed by a professional. Additionally, homes built prior to 1978 may have lead-based paint present. Lead-based paints may be covered by newer layers of paint; however, the risks associated with exposure to lead can still present health hazards – especially in children.

Regulatory compliance: ECS has the trained and certified personnel to ensure that your project is completed properly, safely, and in compliance with applicable regulations.