February 3, 2009
Katrina homes may be contaminated
Post-Hurricane Katrina flooded homes may contain harmful levels of contaminants, including mold, gases and aerosols, U.S. researchers said.
The modeling study, scheduled to be published in the April issue of Environmental Engineering Science, said the pollutants may also have exposed residents, first responders and demolition crews to dangerous contaminant levels without the need for direct skin contact.
Nicholas Ashley, Kalliat Valsaraj and Louis Thibodeaux of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge detailed the possible types and levels of volatile and semi-volatile organic pollutants that might be present in the multiple indoor phases, inside Katrina-flooded homes. These include hazardous chemicals present in the inhalable vapor phase, in mold films, or in aerosolized spores.
The researchers conclude that these newly identified inhalation exposure routes could present a significant health risk to persons who simply walk inside and breathe the air in contaminated homes, even if there is no dermal contact with the sediment covering the floors or the mold growing on the walls and other surfaces.
This is an excellent and important study by one of the top research teams in the nation. It will help us better prepare first responders for the additional risks that may be posed by such events, Domenico Grasso, editor in chief of the Environmental Engineering
Science, said in a statement.
It will help us better prepare first responders for the additional risks that may be posed by such events.