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           Katrina's Aftermath Archives         Katrina's Aftermath [Home]
New Orleans mould 'risks health'
(BBC NEWS, November 17, 2005)
Spores from mould growing in New Orleans homes flooded after Hurricane Katrina pose a major risk to health, a US environmental group has warned. . . . Air tests have shown levels of mould high enough to trigger serious allergic reactions in some people, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) says. . . . It accuses the government of doing too little to warn residents of the risks. . . . The steamy climate in New Orleans and the fact that many homes were under water for days or weeks following Katrina has made it a fertile breeding ground for mould. . . . The authorities have encouraged returning residents and workers to wear masks and protective clothing when cleaning up buildings. . . . It says lower income households are at particular risk if they try to rebuild their homes without head-to-toe protective suits - which cost about $40 (£23) and should be worn only once - and proper respirators. . . . Tests it carried out in mid-October at 14 sites across New Orleans, nine of which had been significantly flooded, showed high levels of mould spores both indoors and out. . . . Dr Gina Solomon, who led the NRDC study, said: "The outdoor mould spore concentrations could easily trigger serious allergic or asthmatic reactions in sensitive people. . . . "The indoor air quality was even worse, rendering the homes we tested dangerously uninhabitable by any definition." . . . Her team found levels as high as 645,000 spores per cubic metre (35 cubic ft) inside a building in the badly flooded Uptown district and outdoor levels of 81,000. . . . The US National Allergy Bureau considers outdoor mould counts above 50,000 as "very high". . . . The work being carried out to clean up and rebuild the city is likely to continue stirring up mould spores for some time to come, Dr Solomon warned. . . . Those with allergies, lung problems or weak immune systems are at particular risk. . . . The problem of mould contamination was likely to continue for months at least, she added. . . . "This is so unprecedented, this volume of material that we are dealing with. It's hard to estimate how long it's going to take."
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 1:11 PM

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