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City sees rise in mold cases; state also at risk, Purdue says

– Purdue University experts say heavy rain that has soaked much of Indiana in recent weeks could raise mold problems for homeowners.

Purdue Mold Team coordinator Mary Lou Elbert says any home with moisture damage will have mold problems, so homeowners should fix the damage as soon as possible. Mold can begin growing a day or two after water damage.

Mold can spread rapidly, growing on nearly any material. Dampness and heat create an ideal environment.

Locally, there has been an increase in calls to the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health during the past three months from residents regarding the presence of mold in their homes, said John Silcox, spokesman for the health department.

There is no state or federal standard as far as what are acceptable mold levels or laws that require mold remediation, Silcox said.

“If they are in the city of Fort Wayne, residents can contact Neighborhood Code Enforcement Agency at 311, but there is no mechanism or agency for us to refer people to for those who live outside the city limits,” Silcox said. In some instances, the local health department will contact the state on behalf of those who suspect mold may be causing health problems, Silcox said.

“A doctor’s note will allow us to contact the Indiana Department of Health, which will then do mold-level testing in the home,” he said.

For more information, go to the Health Department’s website at www.allencountyhealth.com.

vsade@jg.net

The Associated Press contributed to this story

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