Safety precautions after flooding

NYSUT is urging its members to take care when cleaning up flooded homes and businesses, and to use resources to get information on how to proceed safely. Throughout the state, teachers, school nurses, aids and assistants have all sustained heavy damage to their homes, and some have had their homes condemned due to severe flooding  damage from Hurricane Irene.
Vice President Kathleen Donahue, who oversees health and safety for the union, urges those who are helping with the cleanup, and those whose homes have been lost or damaged due to flooding, to take precautions in order to prevent health problems that can be caused by mold and mildew.
Cornell Cooperative Extension has made easy-to-follow documents available on mold and mildew, food safety, water testing, precautions before removing moldy items, handling damaged crops, and more.
Mold growth can occur within 24-48 hours of water damage, and can cause mild to severe health problems. Precautions should be taken before removing items from homes or cleaning.
“Problems can include respiratory, nasal and sinus, eye, nose and throat irritations, skin rashes, and problems with the nervous system,” said Donahue. “We want our members to protect themselves.”
An article in the Times-Union also warns of hazards lurking in the toxic mix of mud and debris and provides numerous resources for practical information in care and cleanup.

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