Flood Victims Now Fight Mold

Posted at: 04/04/2013 9:28 PM
Updated at: 04/04/2013 10:56 PM
By: Maarja Anderson

Following the June floods, officials say mold has been a significant problem for many of those recovering from flood damage. According to experts, mold is a fungus we breathe in daily, but in our homes it can be damaging and even hazardous.

Thursday, Minnesota's top mold expert talked to the public about health hazards, identification, and prevention of mold.

Dan Tranter, the Indoor Air Supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Health, spoke with homeowners about the mold in their homes. Homeowners across the Northland, like Ron Anderson of Carlton, saw devastating damage from the floods. He had six feet of standing water in his basement in June and still has a few inches he has to sweep into his sump now and again.

"I'm trying to not put too much stuff down there so air can flow around and I have a dehumidifier going," said Anderson.

Tranter said homes damaged by the June floods are more susceptible to the natural-occurring fungus.

"I've heard reports that there could be problems from the earth shifting around properties that could allow more water to come in than normally would in the Spring," said Tranter.

Tranter said mold is easy to spot, it might be fuzzy and could be various colors. He added it might also carry a musty odor or could even make some people ill.

"It can trigger allergy symptoms...asthma symptoms, and even if you don't have those conditions it could cause difficulty breathing, coughing, a running nose," said Tranter.

If the mold is found on porous material, such as carpet or drywall, Tranter said throw it out. But on hard materials, such as metal or wood, the area can simply be cleaned.

  1. Remove mud and debris and porous items
  2. Scrub remaining surfaces with soap and water
  3. Apply bleach (1/4-1/2 cup per gallon of water)
  4. Dry-- fans, open windows, dehumidifier, furnace on continuous
  5. Rebuild when drying is complete

For more information on cleaning moldy surfaces and preventing mold, go to the Minnesota Department of Health's website.