Missippi River Flooding Pollutes Water

Missippi River Flooding Pollutes Water

Mississippi River Flooding Carries Health Risks

With the flood waters continuing to cascade down the Mississippi River, expanding its normal horizons, we don’t know final extent of flooding though what we do know is that flood waters can have catastrophic effects on the health and safety of both residents and business owners in the regions.

The burgeoning Mississippi River has rumbled into the Mississippi Delta on Tuesday, threatening to wash away large homes and shacks, destroy cotton, rice and corn fields in a flood of historic proportions. The storm soaked the southern states pushing rivers over their banks, closing roads and schools, and requiring thousands of people to evacuate.

The river crested before daybreak at Memphis, Tenn., just inches short of the record set in 1937.

With the flood waters continuing to cascade down the Mississippi River, expanding its normal horizons, we don’t know final extent of flooding though what we do know is that flood waters can have catastrophic effects on the health and safety of both residents and business owners in the regions.

Pollution and Health Risks from Flood Waters:

Floodwaters potentially increase the risk of air, surface and water pollution. The stagnant water from flooding is a reservoir for microbes and other chemicals (VOC and other gases) as it contains sewage and other debris.

Bacterial and fungi/mold infections are very common in this situation and the contaminated environment carries potential high health risks for diseases/epidemics.

Dangerous toxins can be found in flood waters are a significant health problem for area residents in the flooded portions the Mississippi River.

Standing water is a breeding ground for bacteria, viruses and mold, which can become airborne and put people at risk for lung disease and other respiratory problems. Contaminants in the flood waters can pose additional threats that last long after the waters recede.

Contaminants, bacteria, viruses and mold pose risks even after the waters recede. Children, seniors and people with lung diseases like asthma and COPD are at a higher risk of developing breathing problems from these contaminants.

The American Lung Association cautions Tennessee residents that dampness, and not just standing water, gives rise to mold and mildew.

Floods can bring into your home a toxic mix of contaminants that can include sewage, pesticides, and chemicals. The most important part of the cleanup process is removing all the water, including the hidden dampness that can remain in indoor areas to prevent the growth of mold.

Damaged materials and furnishings should be discarded, including any items that cannot be thoroughly cleaned and dried within 24-48 hours. Simply drying out water will not remove the contaminants or toxins that can make people sick. Furniture and other personal belongings covered by water should be discarded to prevent mold growth.

The resident/property owner should avoid direct contact with standing water when possible to minimize the chance for infection. It is also important to have information available on the potential chemical and biological contaminants for managing the risk of health and hygiene.

Environmental Sampling and Risk Assessment:

It is essential to know the nature and type of pollutants in order to evaluate the associated risk of a flood-damaged area. EDLab recommends The IAQ Test Kit Center online at http://www.indoorairtest.com for Do-It-Yourself (DIY) test kits for testing allergens, bacteria, mold, volatile organic compounds (VOC), or flood victims may take advantage of our special program, Building Health Check, for assessing the building condition after the flood. The Building Health Check (BHC) hotline 800-422-7873 is open and a BHC IAQ specialist is ready to help.

Flood victims may also purchase Do-It-Yourself test kits and other sampling supplies available by calling Cy Garner at 1-800-422-7873, Ext. 804 or ext 404.

SPECIAL DISCOUNT: EDLab offers a 10% discount off the list price on all their services. This offer is valid June 30, 2011 for flood-affected areas of the south.

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