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Local store sells flood ravaged merchandise

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BATON ROUGE- Tonight, health leaders have a word of caution if you plan on purchasing moldy merchandise from stores that may have taken on water during August's epic flooding.

At Tom Water's Clothing Store in Baton Rouge, moldy merchandise fills store shelves. The Attorney General's Office says selling moldy merchandise or merchandise destroyed by the flood is not illegal as long as the seller discloses that to the consumer.

Workers at the store were on their hands and knees Wednesday scrubbing down the floors. The washing machine was running constantly. A quick look at the store shelves, and it's easy to see why. From boots, to jeans, socks and more... floodwaters ruined almost everything.

"Half price," Owner Tom Waters said. "Half price if any water got on it whatsoever."

Waters says he has to sell his merchandise because he's worried about his employees and his bottom line. He had no flood insurance.

"I've got to pay five or six employees electrical bills, tithes and offerings everything they spend a dollar for before I make a dollar myself," Waters said.

As fans run constantly to get the nauseating smell out, Waters and a team of workers are selling items like boots that would have sold for nearly $150 for half price.

"Our ancestors lived with mold in log cabins and old houses all of their lives," Waters said. "Some of them lived to be 110 years old. It's not a concern of mine."

But, it is concerning to state health experts tasked with making sure the public knows about the dangers of mold.

"Our recommendation for an individual trying to purchase clothing is to get rid of the mold," Dr. Parham Jaberi said. "Because you can potentially bring that item in and spread further mold in your house."

Dr. Parham Jaberi says tiny mold spores that you may not see cause issues similar to seasonal allergies. Tonight, the Attorney General's Office says owner Tom Waters is not breaking any laws since he's letting his customers know before they make purchases.

"There's nothing on the laws that we have jurisdiction over that says this is a problem. we would advise consumers if they purchase a new product to find out it had water damage to contact the consumer protection  at 1-800-351-4889.
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With the green light, Waters plans to keep selling what he can.

"It's up to the individual," Waters said. "If they are allergic to mold, some people are, don't fool with it."

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