What you can’t see could hurt you and your family!
After a flood event many hidden dangers can still be present in your home and yard:
MOLD: Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can cause symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation. Some people, such as those with serious allergies, may have more severe reactions including fever and shortness of breath. Individuals with chronic lung illnesses may develop mold infections in their lungs.
TOXINS: A number of toxic materials may be present in flood waters and deposited into your home and yard as the water recedes. For example, sediments left behind during Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans were shown to contain significant quantities of arsenic, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, petroleum hydrocarbons and lead. Some of these toxins have been strongly associated with cancers as well as nervous system effects and kidney and reproductive system damage.
If you are re-entering, cleaning out or rebuilding a structure that has been affected by flood water you should take precautions to protect yourself from potentially harmful materials.
WEAR RESPIRATORY PROTECTION to protect yourself from mold spores and potentially contaminated sediment dust (as the sediment dries it can turn into a fine dust and be stirred up by everyday activities including walking through the structure). Be sure to have a mask with a NIOSH rating of at least N-95. You will find this number on the packaging and the mask itself. If the mask has no numbering on it, it is probably a common household dust mask and is not adequate protection.
WEAR GLOVES AND PROTECTIVE CLOTHING to prevent potentially harmful material from touching your skin or contaminating your regular clothes. The protective clothing can then be disposed of without causing further contamination.
WEAR SAFETY GOGGLES to protect your eyes from hazardous material and injury while working. Ventless goggles will help keep mold spores and dust out of your eyes.
WEAR RUBBER BOOTS and protective footwear to protect against contamination of your shoes and injury from sharp debris (rusty nails, broken glass, etc.).
WASH YOUR HANDS and any exposed skin thoroughly and regularly. “Waterless” hand sanitizer can be a convenient way to protect yourself from germs.
See below for a list of protective items available online. These products are not endorsed by LEAN but may help you identify appropriate safety equipment. Examples of Personal Protective Equipment(PPE) that may be helpful in protecting you and your family from these hazards:
IF you order PPE online through Amazon be sure to sign up for AmazonSmile and have your purchase support the Louisiana Environmental Action Network(LEAN)