When storms bring heavy rains and flooding a number of environmental concerns are left in the wake of the storm. One area of concern is the potential presence of endotoxins.
Exposure to endotoxins can be a real concern following a flooding or sewage contamination event in an indoor environment. Endotoxins are a type of bacterial toxin that is located in the cell wall component of the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria. Bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella, and Helicobacter, which are often associated with these events, are all Gram-negative types of bacteria.
Toxins associated with bacteria cause damage directly by destroying tissues or indirectly by triggering an immune response that may be harmful. All mammals can be affected by endotoxins. Severe reactions including fever, decreased blood pressure, inflammation and coagulation in humans has been associated with exposure to these toxins. The presence of endotoxins in the blood is known as endotoxemia which can lead to septic shock.
“Both building inhabitants, and restoration and remediation contractors, who help clean up and rebuild after these events may be exposed to these harmful toxins,” stated Susan White, Ph.D., CMC, President of Sussex Environmental Health Consultants (SEHC), a Delaware based environmental consulting firm. “Not only can people be directly exposed to endotoxins by touching contaminated materials, but they can also breathe these toxins if they have become airborne during the drying or removal process.”
SEHC recently sponsored a public outreach video about endotoxins that can be seen at:
To learn more about SEHC’s indoor air quality (IAQ), environmental, or health and safety services, please visit http://www.sussexenvironmental.com, email susan.white@
About Sussex Environmental Health Consultants, LLC
SEHC is a certified woman owned business that provides environmental and health and safety consulting services. The company is located in the Mid-Atlantic and services customers nationwide. SEHC provides solutions to clients ranging from homeowners to international Fortune 500 Corporations.