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Dust can be produced when repairing your home, removing and cutting wallboards and sheetrock, sweeping up debris or removing mold.

What You Should Know
  • Dust can irritate eyes, nose, throat, and lungs and worsen conditions like asthma or allergies. Long-term exposure to fine dust can also hurt your lungs.

  • When removing dust or mold from your home, it is important to wear an N95 dust mask, for sale at supply, home improvement or hardware stores. Learn more about wearing the N95 mask [En Español] Русский] (PDF).

What You Should Do
  • Wear an N95 dust mask, work gloves, and goggles.

  • Isolate repair work from living areas with plastic sheeting or other barriers.

  • Keep children, and anyone with respiratory problems like asthma, away from dusty areas.

  • Do not sand, scrape, or sweep dry dust. Wet down surfaces with detergent and water.

  • Keep windows and doors open to air out the area during cleaning.

  • Consider hiring a contractor for help if mold growth and damage is extensive. See Help with Hiring a Contractor.

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  • The Department of Consumer Affairs offers an “Instant License Check” to determine if a specific contractor is licensed.

  • For reimbursement of additional repairs:
    • If you are applying for disaster assistance or filing an insurance claim, take photos of all damage before cleaning up. Keep receipts of all repairs.

    • Apply for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Individual and Households Program. This program will provide money to repair a home so that it is safe and sanitary to live in but it will not pay to return the home to its condition before the disaster.
      • Apply online at disaster assistance or by call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).
      • Repairs made through NYC Rapid Repairs will not affect the amount a homeowner is eligible to receive through FEMA.

    • Contact your insurance agent about filing a claim.
      • Contact the New York State Insurance Department, Consumer Services Bureau if you have complaints about your insurance provider: 800-342-3736.

  • NYC Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit, Hurricane Sandy Recovery site.

For more information, call 311 or visit

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