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Thanks To Extremely Wet Summer, Mold Issues Keeping Local Environmental Cleaning Companies Busy

MANAHAWKIN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- The sun was out on Wednesday, but overall it has been a pretty soggy summer.

And that rain is leading to a growing mold problem.

One New Jersey company says it is getting so many mold calls, this year is shaping up to be second only to the year of Superstorm Sandy, CBS2's Elise Finch reported.

Carolyn Palau recently had the air in her Manahawkin home tested for mold. This summer's excessive rainfall has saturated the ground and lead to indoor moisture that encourages mold growth. Palau said she has already seen a small amount.

"It was isolated to about one-quarter of the bedroom floor," Palau said. "It scared me because it was black, and I don't know if it's a just a stereotype thing that black mold is toxic."

She told CBS2's Finch she's still not sure because the mold was removed but not tested. Palau was uneasy, especially now because she kept hearing about mold popping up in more and more homes after our incredibly rainy and hot summer.

Michael Mercadante is the owner of Dependable Environmental Protection. He said he has been inundated with calls this year, but added not all mold is dangerous.

"There are three types of mold. There's common mold -- ugly to look at but no health issues. There's toxic mold that will make everybody ill. And then there is allergenic mold which means just that -- if you happen to have an allergy to a particular mold, there's enough of it in the air that you are breathing in it is going to create an illness for you," Mercadante said.

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Mercadante said the only way to tell exactly what kind of mold you have is to take air samples and send them to a lab.

"It tells us whatever is floating through the air. It tells us how much of it it is. And then it tells us what possible effects it could have on people," Mercadante said.

Mold can grow anywhere there is water, even places that you don't typically think of like your kitchen, especially behind a dishwasher, if it is malfunctioning, or under a leaky sink.

If non-toxic mold is growing on a non-porous surface, Mercadante says you might be able to get rid of it using a solution of equal parts vinegar and water. But if that mold is on a porous surface like sheet rock or carpet, and if it's toxic, you'll need a professional to suit up and get it out of your home.

The mold problem isn't just impacting homes. Mold found in Brick High School and Lakehurst Elementary forced officials to cancel or move classes at the start of the year.

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