Sandy storm survivors face threat of mold infestation

Nearly two years after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy left entire neighborhoods destroyed and lives upturned, Long Island health advocates are still pushing for residents to have their homes checked for mold infestation. According to survey results reported by the New York Committee for Occupational Health and Safety (NYCOHS), 57 percent of residents affected by the storm are still residing in the homes that were flooded by Sandy. Furthermore, the NYCOHS along with Long Island Jobs with Justice have completed a report that concludes that most homeowners have not looked into appropriate mold removal services. 

NYCOHS executive director, Charlene Obernauer, tells Newsday that, "The report shows a lot of people don't know how to do mold remediation. We want to raise awareness of how dangerous mold can be and that it's important to get rid of it when it is there." 

Although mold testing has not been conducted in the Sandy-damaged homes by health advocates, officials are asking residents to test or have their homes tested in light of the potentially serious health risks. Obernauer notes that a moisture level of 20 percent or higher means that mold is present in the home and should be removed by a professional service. The NYCOHS executive director also explains that many residents who have found mold have tried to remove it with bleach, not knowing that not only is bleach an ineffective tactic for mold removal or preventing mold growth but that soap and water actually makes a stronger mold-removing formula. 

The report also suggests that any furniture pieces that have absorbed water be replaced immediately, as floodwaters can carry thousands of strains of bacteria and mold, which can contribute to asthma and respiratory conditions. 

If you live in the Virginia or Washington, D.C., area and have any mold infestation concerns, contact industry-leader Alban Inspections to schedule a professional home inspection today!