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Funkyass Mold Threatens Health in Southern US

Slime Spores
User ID: 48389
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09/27/2005 11:12 PM
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Funkyass Mold Threatens Health in Southern US
The mold will eat anything left standing, I suppose.

Sept 27, 2005

Monster Mold Threatens Health in the South

NEW ORLEANS -- Wearing goggles, gloves, galoshes and a mask, Veronica Randazzo lasted only 10 minutes inside her home in St. Bernard Parish. Her eyes burned, her mouth filled with a salty taste and she felt nauseous. Her 26-year-old daughter, Alicia, also covered in gear, came out coughing.

"That mold," she said. "It smells like death."

Mold now forms an interior version of kudzu in the soggy South, posing health dangers that will make many homes tear-downs and will force schools and hospitals to do expensive repairs.

Itīs a problem that any homeowner who has ever had a flooded basement or a leaky roof has faced. But the magnitude of this problem leaves many storm victims prey to unscrupulous or incompetent remediators. Home test kits for mold, for example, are worthless, experts say.

Donīt expect help from insurance companies, either. Most policies were revised in the last decade to exclude mold damage because of "sick building" lawsuits alleging illnesses. Although moldīs danger to those with asthma or allergies is real, thereīs little or no science behind other claims, and a lot of hype.

Mold is everywhere. Most people have no problem living with this ubiquitous fungus. It reproduces by making spores, which travel unseen through the air and grow on any moist surface, usually destroying it as the creeping crud grows.

Mold canīt be eliminated but can be controlled by limiting moisture, which is exactly what couldnīt be done after Hurricane Katrina. Standing water created ideal growth conditions and allowed mold to penetrate so deep that experts fear that even studs of many homes are saturated and unsalvageable.

In fact, New Orleans is where moldīs health risks were first recognized.

A Louisiana State University allergist, the late Dr. John Salvaggio, described at medical meetings in the 1970s what he called "New Orleans asthma," an illness that filled hospital emergency rooms each fall with people who couldnīt breathe. He linked it to high levels of mold spores that appeared in the humid, late summer months.

"These are potent allergens," but only for people who have mold allergies, said Dr. Jordan Fink, a Medical College of Wisconsin professor and past president of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

Molds produce irritants that can provoke coughing, and some make spores that contain toxins, which further irritate airways.

Stachybotrys Chartarum

"The real pariah is this thing called Stachybotrys chartarum. This organism produces a greater variety of toxins and in greater concentrations than any other mold thatīs been studied," Money said.

Doctors at Clevelandīs Rainbow Babies & Childrenīs Hospital blamed it for a cluster of cases of pulmonary hemorrhage, or bleeding into the lungs, that killed several children in the 1990s, but the link was never proved.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there is no firm evidence linking mold to the lung problem, memory loss or other alleged woes beyond asthma and allergy. However, the sheer amount of it in the South could trigger problems for some people who havenīt had them before, medical experts said.

"The child who didnīt have a significant problem before may be in a much different scenario now," said Dr. Michael Wasserman, a pediatrician at Ochsner Clinic in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie whose office and home were flooded and are now covered in mold. He plans to tear down his house.

Even dead mold can provoke asthma in susceptible people, meaning that places open to the public- restaurants, schools, businesses- must eliminate it.

This is most true for hospitals, where mold spores can cause deadly lung diseases in people with weak immune systems or organ transplants. Such concerns already led Charity Hospitalīs owners to mothball it.

Tulane University Hospital and Clinicīs cleanup is expected to take months.

"The first floorīs got pretty much mold. Itīs going to be pretty much a total loss," said Ron Chatagnier, project coordinator for C&B Services, a Texas company hired by the hospitalīs owner, HCA.

"It might be difficult or impossible to reopen some of these medical centers," said Joe Cappiello, an official with the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.

"Itīs not just the physical destruction that you see," but ventilation systems and ductwork full of mold, ready "to seed the rest of the hospital with spores" if the heat or air conditioning were turned on, he said.

As for houses, "anything thatīs been submerged probably will be a tear-down," said Jeffrey May, a Boston-area building inspector, chemist and book author who has investigated thousands of buildings for mold problems.

Clothes can be washed or dry cleaned, but most furniture is a loss. Ditto for carpeting, insulation, wallpaper and drywall, which no longer lives up to its name.

Mattresses that didnīt get wet probably have mold if they were in a room that did.

"Anything with a cushion you can forget about," May said.

The general advice is the same as when food is suspected of being spoiled: when in doubt, throw it out.

When is professional help needed?

"Itīs simply a matter of extent. If youīve got small areas of mold, just a few square feet, itīs something a homeowner can clean with 10 percent bleach," said Anu Dixit, a fungus expert at Saint Louis University.

She studied mold after the Mississippi River floods in 1993 and 1994, and found cleaning measures often were ineffective, mainly because people started rebuilding too soon, before the surrounding area was completely dry.

In the New Orleans suburb of Lakeview, Toby Roesler found a water line 7 feet high on his home and mold growing in large black and white colonies from every wall and ceiling on the first floor.

Wearing goggles, a mask and rubber gloves, he sprayed down the stairwell with a bleach solution. A crew will arrive soon to gut the lower floor.

"I think itīs salvageable," he said, but admitted, "Itīs going to be some gross work to get it ready."

Others wonīt try.

Dionne Thiel, who lives next door to the Randazzo family, was only 7 when Hurricane Betsy raced through her neighborhood 40 years ago. Returning on Monday, after Hurricane Katrina, something was instantly familiar.

"The mold and the water," she said. "Itīs the exact same smell."

Mold covered her dining room walls, snaked up doorframes and even found its way into the candles she sold for a living. She and her husband salvaged his golf clubs but left the rest. Theyīll move to Arizona.

"I would never want to live here again," said her husband, Don Thiel. "Itīs not going to be safe."

[link to www.breitbart.com]

Anonymous Coward
User ID: 20985
United States
09/28/2005 09:09 AM
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Re: Funkyass Mold Threatens Health in Southern US
"..The Meek shall inherit the Earth..."

Mold is about as meek as you can get.

Creep creep creepy.
Anonymous Coward
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09/28/2005 04:40 PM
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Re: Funkyass Mold Threatens Health in Southern US
I say
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 2380
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09/28/2005 04:45 PM
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Re: Funkyass Mold Threatens Health in Southern US
here is an article describing the clean up that would be needed in NOLA because of the mold:

Protecting Your Health During Mold Clean-Up
Exposure to molds can occur during clean-up procedures since mold counts can be extremely high in the contaminated area. However, there are ways you can minimize your exposure to mold during clean-up procedures. It is not recommended for those who may be at increased risk for experiencing adverse health effects to perform the clean-up procedures or be in or around the area during clean-up, such as those with any kind of lung or allergy-related health conditions (like asthma or allergies).

Also, if the mold growth is extremely severe, you may need a professional to remediate the problem. If you do require a professional mold remediation contractor, make sure they are certified, and have multiple references you can check to validate the quality of their work.

1. Wear Respirator

Wear a medium-efficiency or high-efficiency filter dust mask or respirator to protect against the inhalation of mold spores. For the best protection, choose a respirator designed for particle removal such as the model N95 or TC-21C particle respirator.

2. Clothing

Wear protective clothing that is easily removed, cleaned, and that covers all areas of the body to prevent against any dermal (skin) exposure. You may even want to choose a protective outer layer that can be discarded such as a Tyvek suit. Other personal protective equipment that should worn are rubber gloves and eye goggles.

3. Evacuate

Ask any family members or houseguests to leave the area during clean-up, if they are not part of the clean-up process. Especially if they are in a high risk group for experiencing adverse health effects from the exposure to mold.

4. Work in Short Intervals

If the damage is extensive and requires many hours of cleanup, work over short time periods and rest in a fresh air location.

5. Moldy Materials

Enclose all moldy materials in sealed, plastic bags before carrying them away.

6. Seal Off Area

Hang plastic sheeting to separate the work area from the rest of the home. Also, use plastic to seal off ducts in the area where you are working, to prevent spores from traveling through the ductwork into other parts of the home or building.

7. Containment

Remove the outer layer of work clothing inside the work area, and wash it separately or bag it for disposal.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 2380
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09/28/2005 04:46 PM
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Re: Funkyass Mold Threatens Health in Southern US
how are they gonna do that for square miles of mold removal?

User ID: 504
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09/28/2005 04:50 PM
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Re: Funkyass Mold Threatens Health in Southern US
Tear down the city and give it back to the Mississippi delta. Rather than spending billions in taxpyer monies (most which will be ripped off by Halliburton, et al), spend less and give the residents of NOLA the money to relocate.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 21473
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09/28/2005 04:53 PM
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Re: Funkyass Mold Threatens Health in Southern US
It was there before Katrina. Even smell New Orleans, It smells better in a garbage dump