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Mold symposium brings out homeowners affected by flood of 2013

By ALLISON NORLIAN

WHITESBORO, N.Y. (WKTV) - Mold has become the hot topic in the Mohawk Valley, especially after the Flood of 2013. It's not just the clean up from the flooding that's causing headaches, it's also dangerous mold spores. Thursday night, The Oneida County Health Department, in conjunction with the New York State Department of Health held a mold symposium at the Whitesboro firehouse inviting local homeowners to get expert advice from Richard Jones, The Public Health Specialist with the bureau of Environmental Exposure Investigation with the New York State Department of Health. He had tips for cleaning up and mold prevention.

Many of the local homeowners who came out to the seminar had issues with mold after the flood of 2013.

Beverly Grem's of Utica said, " I think it was all the rain we had in June and July so it just overwhelmed the roof and it started leaking," while Donna Nettleton of Rome explained, " I had wheezing and asthma attacks and all the things they mentioned almost all of them so I'm happy to be here because last winter I was sick most of the winter so I think this might have to be something to do with it."

They complained of watery eyes, a runny nose, itchy throat and even a wheezing cough. Dr. Jones explained that what these individuals are experiencing is a mere mold allergy, " The myths are that molds create diseases. Actually, few molds are actually toxic, some do produce toxins but they are few and far between and the only true way we are exposed and can be affected is to actually like ingest or inhale the mold themselves...95 percent of all so- called symptoms or illnesses caused by molds are actually allergic reaction to the mold."

The presentation consisted of a slide show and examples about what to do if you have mold, what not to do it and the health affects it has on people. Jones said, "Mold needs three things to live. It needs food source, heat and water. The one thing we can control is the water. Continue to use a dehumidifier, you don't want to over dry building materials but dry them out good, keep them dry...eliminate sources of water, fix leaks and dry your home out as well as you can."

Jones proceeded to talk about how cleaning mold also depends on what type it is. If a mold is non-porous he said to first dry it, clean the mold with soapy water, disinfect it with a bleach like solution containing a couple cups of bleach per gallon of water, soak the material down and ventilate to dry. If the material has been saturated and lost its structural integrity, dump it out.

Attendee's of the seminar received a pair of goggles and even a face mask. They asked personal questions regarding their specific situations. In addition, a representative from the Herkimer-Oneida Organizations Active in Disaster (HOOAD) was in attendance to provide recovery assistance to flood victims.

The Health Department plans to organize another mold symposium depending on the feedback from this one.

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