Rep. Grimm Warns Residents of Health and Structural Risks when Rebuilding Homes

Nov 12, 2012 Issues: Defense and National Security

STATEN ISLAND -  Congressman Michael Grimm (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn) warns residents of health and structural risks when rebuilding their homes in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.  Many homes on Staten Island were flooded and are at risk of growing mold, contaminated with backed-up sewage, or exposed to diesel fuel leaks. If homes are not properly rebuilt, the integrity of the home could be compromised and health risks could arise.

“Mold and other contaminants pose a tremendous threat to our homes and the health of those living inside,” said Grimm. “Staten Islanders are eager to move forward and rebuild, but there’s more to it than just throwing up new sheetrock - precise steps must be taken to fully dry out a home and eliminate any mold before repairs can begin. There is a lot of misinformation out there on rebuilding a home, which is why my office is educating the public on the issue, in order to avoid safety hazards and costly complications months from now once the home is rebuilt and no longer eligible for insurance or FEMA aid.”

This morning, Rep. Grimm hosted a meeting in his Staten Island District Office for Staten Island’s elected officials with environmental experts who advised on proper clean-up and repairs to prevent mold, illness, and further damage. They advised that once water is pumped out and personal items removed, that sheetrock, insulation, and siding must also be removed in order to allow the structure to completely dry out before rebuilding. Dryness can be measured with a moisture meter. If there is visible mold growth, it must be removed by a professional before rebuilding can begin.

Rebuilding without removing mold or drying out the house could lead to dangerous, unhealthy, and costly complications that could threaten the existence of the home and jeopardize the health of the residents.

For complete guidelines on how to properly repair homes, http://www.epa.gov/iaq/flood/index.html.

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