Mold concerns grow as floodwaters recede in St. Louis area

"With all the flood waters and the rain, we are really starting to see some black mold getting into homes."

Fred Bodimer
July 01, 2019 - 2:12 am

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) — This weekend brought many local residents back to their flood-damaged homes -- to begin the long process of clean up as the waters recede. 

One of the big questions some are having now is -- what can be saved and what should be thrown away?  
The director of the Missouri Poison Center at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital -- Julie Weber -- says she's getting a lot of calls about mold inside homes.

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"With all the flood waters and the rain, we are really starting to see some black mold getting into homes," said Weber.  "We are trying to help people to understand the risk for it and then how to get that out of their home."
The biggest challenge, she says, is the clean up.

"With cleaning up after the flood waters once they have kind of gone away it's very labor intensive," Weber tells KMOX. "But it starts with first protecting yourself.  You want to have on appropriate equipment when cleaning up the mold -- including gloves that won't let anything through them, a mask and goggles possibly."
Next is getting rid of all the things that could contain mold.

"You have to get things that are wet out of the home or whatever area you are cleaning up," said Weber.  "Anything that's been really wet for at least 48 hours really needs to disposed of or thrown out -- like mattresses, pillows, carpets, the padding, wallpaper, dry wall.  I mean it's a big process.  You also need to throw out things that you don't think about and are hard to part with -- such as those stuffed animals or books that have been wet more than 48 hours.   We really like to say -- when in doubt, throw it out.  Because what can happen is mold will grow on the surfaces of what's there."

And don't forget to properly ventilate the area.

"Fans should be put in place near windows and doors to get the air going outwards so the mold does not spread indoors," said Weber.  "Dehumidifiers are also very helpful with that process."

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