NYCHA Residents – Do You Have Mold? What to Do About it.
By Kyle Lawson
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Sneezing, wheezing and dry, scaly skin. According to healthcare experts, these are a few of the tell-tale signs of allergies either developed or triggered by mold growing inside a Staten Island home.
“If you’re allergic to mold it can trigger (asthma) symptoms,” said Dr. Nbha Bhambri, an allergy and asthma specialist with offices on Staten Island and in New Jersey. Adding that allergies also can “develop with (mold) exposure.”
More serious health risks linked to long-term exposure could include asthma, inflamed lungs and fungal sinusitis in the sinuses, according to research conducted by the Mayo Clinic.
There are several types of mold. The most common world-wide is alternaria, which grows wherever dampness forms and is described by experts as a velvet-textured mold with dark green or brown hairs. Also common in U.S. households is aspergillus, which can occur in many different colors and creates long chains of growth on surfaces.
Because mold is a fungus that spreads, experts say homeowners and tenants conducting a preliminary inspection should check every room, under the carpeting, flooring and behind wallpaper or drywall.
Treating Mold in a House
Mold removal can cost anywhere from $300 to $6,000 depending in part on how much mold exists and and where it’s located, based on a survey of 4,668 clients who used HomeAdvisor to hire professionals. The average price range, according to the survey, was about $1,100 to $3,300.
But before residents start tapping into their savings accounts, experts say there are some easy ways to prevent mold and mildew from growing and/or spreading.
- Fix leaking faucets or pipes.
- Avoid carpeting basements and bathrooms.
- Scrub mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water and dry the surfaces completely.
- Throw away materials containing mold.
- Avoid humidifiers.
What to do in a NYCHA Building
Nearly 10% of residents on the North Shore– where all but one of the NYCHA buildings are located– reported mold in their apartments in 2012, which is the most recent data provided by the city’s Health Department.
That’s compared to about 3% of residents reporting mold on the South Shore, and 3% percent on the West Shore that same year, the data shows.
For NYCHA residents, city officials say help is on the way.
A city-funded program called Mold Busters has been launched in apartment buildings throughout the city, and officials say the program will reach Staten Island and every other building by the end of this year.
The program “is a vital part of NYCHA’s commitment to providing residents with the healthy and safe homes they deserve,” according to the city housing authority’s website.
Once buildings on Staten Island become eligible, the process would begin with a call to the Customer Contact Center, or by logging on to the MyNYCHA app to submit a mold service request.
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