PEMA, FEMA Officials Urge Victims to Clean Up Now to Prevent Mold and Mildew

April 26, 2005

State and Federal disaster recovery officials are advising people in Pennsylvania affected by the heavy rain and flooding that began on April 2 to clean flood-damaged homes thoroughly to avoid possible health problems from mold and mildew.

Mold growth is common in flood-damaged homes. It is important to completely clean and dry any areas that were wet. Mold often appears as discoloration, from white to orange, green, brown and black. Mold also gives off a musty or earthy smell.

“It is important to quickly identify and eliminate any moisture sources before health problems develop,’ said Adrian King Jr., state coordinating officer. “Infants, children, immune-compromised patients, pregnant women, individuals with existing respiratory conditions, such as allergies and asthma, and the elderly may be at higher risks for adverse health effects from mold.”

“People are eager to get on with their lives after a flood, but if you had flood waters in your home we encourage you to take the time to clean thoroughly so problems don’t arise later that affect your home or your health,” added Tom Davies, federal coordinating officer. “Don’t wait until an inspector comes to your home to clean. We would like folks to make their homes safe, sanitary and secure as soon as possible.”

Allergic reactions may be the most common health problem of mold exposure. Typical symptoms reported (alone or in combination) include:

* Respiratory problems, such as wheezing, and difficulty in breathing;
* Nasal and sinus congestion and shortness of breath;
* Eyes – burning, watery, reddened, blurry vision, light sensitivity;
* Dry, hacking cough and sore throat;
* Skin irritation, aches and pains and possible fever;
* Central nervous system problems (constant headaches, memory problems, and mood changes).

Renters, homeowners and business owners who suffered damage or uninsured losses as a result of flooding this month are encouraged to register for disaster assistance by calling the Federal Emergency Management Agency at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). The TTY number for speech- and hearing-impaired applicants is 1-800-462-7585. Individuals may also register online at

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.