Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices Related to Mold Exposure Among Residents and Remediation Workers in Posthurricane New Orleans

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To assess knowledge, attitudes, and practices related to mold exposure in postflood New Orleans, the authors surveyed 159 residents and 76 remediation workers, using logistic regression to explore associations. Nearly all answered "yes" to the questionnaire item, "Do you think mold can make people sick?" and most knew respirators were recommended for cleaning mold. Residents (87%) and workers (47%) said they believed that television or radio were the best ways to communicate information about mold. Workers (24%) also suggested employers provided the best means for communication of this information. Few participants reliably used all recommended protective equipment. Residents cited respirator discomfort and unavailability as reasons for noncompliance; workers cited discomfort and inadequate training, with 50% reporting respirator fit testing. Spanish-speaking workers relied on employers for information. Self-employed workers used protective equipment infrequently. The authors recommend that information on postflood mold exposure be disseminated through media and employers, that protective equipment be made readily available for residents, and that workers receive better training and fit testing. In addition, they suggest that targeted approaches may benefit Spanish-speaking workers and the self-employed.

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