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Mid-Atlantic Residents Warned of Health Concerns Following Hurricane Sandy
As cleanup efforts begin, residents need to be aware of health and safety concerns ranging from microbial pathogens to asbestos and lead.
Already there have been a number of news reports regarding potential health hazards as people begin to cleanup and rebuild their homes and businesses. Susan White, Ph.D., CMC, President of Sussex Environmental Health Consultants (SEHC), a Delaware based environmental consulting firm, has also voiced her concerns. She provided the following information about indoor environmental issues that hurricane victims should be aware of in the days and weeks to come.
Mold can begin to grow in as short as 24 to 48 hours on many types of building materials and household belongings. It’s important to begin drying materials as soon as it is safe to do so. Some nonporous materials can be cleaned and salvaged, but most porous materials should be discarded if mold growth is present. Also be aware that improperly removing moldy materials can cause the mold spores to become aerosolized and spread throughout a property.
Sewage, Bacteria, Viruses & Chemicals
Flooding caused by the storm can bring not only rainwater into a property, but also viruses, bacteria, and chemical contaminants. Flood waters come in contact with anything they touch so sewage and potential chemical hazards may have infiltrated and soaked damaged structures.
Many materials found in older homes contain asbestos. When removing debris or rebuilding a property, these asbestos fibers can become aerosolized. Inhaled asbestos fibers can cause respiratory disease, lung cancer and mesothelioma.
Lead is also a concern because it is a highly toxic metal which produces a range of adverse health effects, particularly in young children. Disturbance or removal of materials containing lead-based paint may result in elevated concentrations of lead dust in the air that can result in lead poisoning.
SEHC has sponsored an online educational video about indoor environmental hazards following a hurricane. To view the video please visit:
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 Fortune 500 Corporations.