NORTHBROOK, IL - Underwriters Laboratories (U.L.) offers recovery safety tips for wood products during cleanup and repair following Hurricane Sandy.

Remove pressed wood furnishings immediately, advises U.L. If damaged by floodwaters, particle-board and MDF cabinetry, countertops and closets must be removed because of the chemicals and bacteria carried in floodwaters. This is the first step, says U.L.

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Semi-porous materials, such as framing lumber, may be salvaged by scrubbing and pressure washing.

Non-porous items such as solid surface countertops and wood flooring can be cleaned later. "They may be restored with soap and water then sanitized if needed," says U.L. "It's important to clean while these materials are still wet versus letting them dry out and making them wet again. Also, clean before sanitizing, as sanitizers are not effective on soiled surfaces."

U.L. also advises on mold formation.

"To prevent mold and moisture issues, the drying process must be underway within 72 hours of cleaning," says U.L. "Water damage is cheaper to repair than mold damage; water damage turns to mold damage in three to seven days.

"Mold can be destructive to the internal structure of the building and may eat away at it for months or years until it is too late to save the structure. On first glance, surfaces with mold growth may seem like they need only a quick scrub of some cleaner to fix, but in reality, mold growth can be much more than just a cosmetic issue."

Exposure to mold spores and other components of mold colonies may trigger respiratory illnesses such as asthma and allergies.

In addition to wood products advice, U.L. also offers safety tips on generators and electrical and disposal of wallboard.

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