Houston, TX, August 28, 2017
Thus far, Hurricane Harvey has produced unprecedented rainfall and strong winds across heavily populated parts of Texas. The powerful storm has left behind millions of dollars of destruction and just yesterday, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said they are already planning for a several year recovery and rebuilding effort.
Countless people lost power to their homes, businesses and schools as hurricane winds, heavy rain and widespread flooding inundated the region. While most properties survived the initial hurricane, many have been left with varying degrees of damage. The vast majority of these properties can be rebuilt, but there are environmental hazards that people need to be aware of. Some of the more common indoor environmental hazards following hurricane damage include:
- Floods 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 the interior of damaged properties.
- Mold can begin to grow in as short as 24 to 48 hours on many types of wet building materials, furnishings and household belongings. Inhaling elevated levels of mold can cause respiratory issues and trigger an asthma attack in some people.
- Removing debris or rebuilding a property can cause fibers from asbestos-containing materials to become aerosolized. Inhalation hazards associated with asbestos fibers include lung cancer and mesothelioma. The disturbance or removal of materials containing lead-based paints may also result in elevated concentrations of lead dust in the air that could cause lead poisoning concerns.
“If you are a property owner, manager or tenant faced with damage from Hurricane Harvey, you need to be aware of potentially serious health and safety hazards that you may encounter,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “To help identify microbial and chemical contaminants, lead, asbestos and other potential hazards, EMSL offers testing services, necessary sampling supplies, easy-to-use test kits, and a wide range of respirators and other personal protective equipment. Information from testing is instrumental in preventing exposure risks for building occupants and can help to ensure that properties are repaired correctly.”
To learn more about indoor environmental quality testing of damaged properties or other indoor air quality, environmental, health and safety services, please visit www.EMSL.com, call (800) 220-3675 or email info@EMSL.com. For access to indoor environmental quality test kits, visit www.EMSLTestKits.com.
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical, Inc. is one of the leading testing laboratories with 40 locations throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella, USP <797>, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOCs, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies. In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of sampling equipment and investigative products for environmental professionals.