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Mississippi Flood Victims Face Mold threat

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 27 Jun 2011 05:00pm | comments
Linda Johnson uses a brush to clean mold off her wall.

Families along the Mississippi river returning to their flood damaged homes face a potential deadly threat...mold. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that flood water and Mississippi weather create the ideal conditions for mold to grow and spread.

Linda Johnson uses a giant scrub brush dipped in a bleach and water mixture to scrub the walls of her Vicksburg home.

Flood water nearly reached the ceiling, and now Johnson is thoroughly cleaning every inch of her gutted home, trying to kill the mold.

"Its dangerous. I don't want nobody to get hurt. That's a little bit of it but its not the black kind. They say the black kind if more dangerous than that," Johnson said.

The flood soaked walls, carpet, and furniture. That not only ruined possessions but also left behind perfect conditions for mold to quickly grow.

Every footstep in the home causes the mold to release spores....which can spread more mold and can result in potentially life threatening illnesses, especially in children.

Vicksburg home inspector Kim McBeath says he has found mold in every single home that had water in it.

"We are concerned about it. We make sure we try not to touch anything that has it and disturb it in any way or brush up against it or anything like that. We just be careful and hope that nothing happens," McBeath said.

Removing the mold from a flood damaged home can be a costly repair...involving replacing walls and floors as well as scrubbing the house and waiting days for it to dry out.

But all that work is necessary to protect the homeowner's health, says FEMA mold specialist Jose Ruvira.

"The mold is aware of what you are doing, ok? Its an organism, it is alive. You have to let it dry. And when it dries you put in new insulation and a new wall. That's the way it is," Ruvira said.

Ruvira says failure to completely clean the home and kill as much mold as possible leaves dangerous living conditions which can lead to a life time of health problems, such as allergies and asthma....and in extreme cases, can be deadly.

The mixture is takes to clean the mold is 1 1/2 cups of bleach to every gallon of water.

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Linda Johnson uses a brush to clean mold off her wall.


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