Seven months after Hurricane Sandy hit the eastern coast of the United States, New York and New Jersey health officials are warning residents that toxic mold is growing on contaminated areas.  The New Jersey Department of Health is distributing pamphlets that can help residents identify mold in their homes and businesses.

“As New Jersey recovers and rebuilds from Superstorm Sandy, mold and its remediation may become a significant issue for many New Jersey residents,” said Mary E. O’Dowd, New Jersey Health Commissioner. “Although molds are common in our environment, mold may become a problem when it grows inside homes.

Credit: Commons/Wikimedia
Credit: Commons/Wikimedia

For smaller areas affected by mold growth, such as less than 10 square feet, homeowners may be able to do the work themselves. However, larger areas may require qualified contractors with experience in mold or environmental contamination who are protected with gloves, a respirator, protective clothing and goggles.

In New York, thousands of residents have been complaining of ailments due to exposure to mold.  The problem is being compounded by a potent allergy season.  Additionally, victims of Hurricane Sandy continue to experience issues with repairing property damages, restoration, and decontamination.

Water damage is a serious hazard and happens far more often that many think.  Property damage resulting from water and leaks is the third most common cause of homeowner loss.  Water damage alone caused $9.1 billion in homeowner policy property losses from 2007 to 2009.

Public health officials in New York and New Jersey are warning residents that toxic mold is posing as a widespread health risk.

Exposure to mold can cause coughing or wheezing as well as irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and skin, according to Restoration 1, a mold inspection and remediation company that operates in several states on the East Coast.  In addition to decontamination services, the Florida-based franchise serves homeowners and businesses who are motivated to restore their property’s economic value.

The American Insurance Association (AIA) states that “water damage claims have been growing faster than other components of homeowners insurance.” Many of these accidents could have been prevented (up to 93 percent), and most water damage occurs because leaks that were slow and gradual turned into a bigger problem seemingly overnight.

When Hurricane Sandy hit the eastern United States in October 2012, local authorities reported that they had never seen a storm of such magnitude of devastation.  Many residents are able to apply for federal aid but many have been stymied by complex applications and lengthy delays by state and federal agencies.