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Expert Warns Of Fake Mold Inspectors
By Karen Roby/WLKY
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Area homeowners continue cleaning up from last week's flash flooding.
WLKY visited a home Friday that remains a devastating mess. The homeowners were out of town Aug. 4 when flash flooding devastated hundreds of Louisville homes and business.
The power to the went out and the sump pump cut off. Water came in and as days passed, mold took over.
WLKY isn't releasing the location of the house or the owners' names. They are afraid of the stigma often associated with mold infested houses.
Before entering the 3-year-old home WLKY's Karen Roby had to suit up to keep out the toxic fumes.
"I bet you've never seen anything like this," said Roby's tour guide, Shirish Phulgaonkar, a Ph.D. level chemical engineer, who specializes in mold and other allergy triggers within the home.
Phulgaonkar said the case in the home is extreme. The water in the basement reached four feet deep and sat for several days.
The moisture level was so high, it reached the first floor and caused extreme mold growth.
Phulgaonkar said mold is highly destructive and if not treated properly, can reproduce in no time.
"In Kentucky, we don't have quote, un quote, 'specific regulations for controlling contractors,'" said Phulgaonkar.
Phulgaonkar said that's a problem. He said anyone with a flashlight can pose as a mold specialist.
For years, health experts warned that mold exposure can cause respiratory problems, if the fungus is not fully removed.
He worries some flood victims may be paying for work that doesn't cure the real problem.
The Better Business Bureau urged flood victims who have mold to do their homework.
"You can check out the business first and make sure they don't have an 'F' rating with us. Maybe they have an 'F' rating cause they didn't answer complaints. You've got to be really careful with that," said Reanna Smith with the Better Business Bureau.
In less severe cases, the Metro Department of Public Health said they can offer help to homeowners.
"There are resources available through Metro 211, United Way. They too have all set up a system of volunteers," said director of Metro Public Health, Dr. Adewale Troutman.
Phulgaonkar said, if flood victims are looking to hire help, he hopes they do some digging first to avoid being taken for a ride.
If you are in need of help with mold there are resources available.
The Better Business Bureau can be reached at 583-6546. The Metro United Way help line is 292-6115.
You can reach the Metro Public health department atwww.louisvilleky.gov/health.
The Better Business Bureau said they have not received any fraud reports from consumers yet, but expect some will come in.