Dealing With Household Mold
A CBS 2 Special Report
Oct 21, 2003 11:24 pm US/Eastern
NEW YORK (CBS) Soon after identical twins Diana and Dawn Meier moved
into the same apartment building, they developed breathing problems.
"She had been complaining of a lot of sinus problems when she moved
the apartment. She had been there about a year before I did. And so I
started getting like my nose running," says Diana.
Their symptoms got worse. And the antibiotics doctors prescribed
didn't help. Then the sisters found out they were sensitive to household
CBS 2's Cindy Hsu reports.
When airborne, microscopic mold spores can wreak havoc in sensitive
people. Researchers in one study found fungus in over 90 percent of
chronic sinusitis patients.
"They end up inhaling it into their sinus cavities and then it just
breeds," says Jordan S. Josephson, M.D.
Sinus expert Jordan Josephson says most sinus infections are bacterial
and fungal. Antibiotics treat only bacterial infections, so patients
may also need anti-fungal drugs. "Each person really needs to be
evaluated by their ear, nose, and throat physician or their sinus
specialist so that they can figure out which is the proper combination
of agents to use."
While doctors treat your sinuses, you need to attack your mold problem.
You can start by washing off the fungus with bleach and water.
"If a person's home has uncontrolled moisture, water leaks, etc,
needs to be fixed," says Philip Harber, M.D.
Harber specializes in occupational medicine and is a mold expert.
"Where there's a very extensive growth, it's sometimes useful to
for advice at the EPA website or to call a professional."
You can hire a trained dog to sniff out hidden mold for about 500 dollars.
The clean-up and repairs are left to you.
Or look in the phone book for a "mold remediator" who will do
entire job for you. It can cost a pretty penny. And your homeowners
insurance may not pay up.
But it's your health that could be at stake. "I really didn't think
I'd become disabled from something I couldn't see that was in my apartment,"
Homeowners insurance may pay mold damage due to something like a
busted pipe. However, it is not likely you'll get financial help if
the mold has been allowed to grow and cause major problems.
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