More than a year after Superstorm Sandy slammed the Garden State, mold may still be causing health problems for hundreds, and perhaps even thousands, of residents in flooded communities.

Mold (Flickr User carlpenergy)

"After Sandy, a lot of homes had water damage, and whenever you have a situation where water has damaged a physical structure, there's the potential for a mold problem in the future," said Mary O'Dowd, state Department of Health commissioner.

The commissioner said a public awareness campaign was launched after Sandy about the dangers of mold and how to remediate it. Additional federal dollars have since been awarded to the Health Department, to teach groups and individuals how to get the job done.

"Anyone who's doing this on their own, we want to make sure they're protecting themselves by wearing the appropriate protective equipment such as masks, goggles, gloves," said O'Dowd. "In our brochure we've made available on our website in both English and Spanish, we go through all the risks of mold, how to clean it up."

She said if you're an individual who's susceptible to an environmental trigger, like asthma, you may be at an increased risk to have your condition made worse by mold.

"It can be very irritating, particularly to your eyes, to your nose, so it's almost like you're having an allergic reaction," said O'Dowd. "While we've made great progress, we know there's still a lot of work left to do. When in doubt, if you're not sure something was exposed to water, or may have mold -- when in doubt, throw it out, there's no reason to take that added risk."

For more information, visit the New Jersey Health Department website.

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