Indoor Air Quality concerns from Water Damage

What are the indoor air quality concerns following flood damage in Low Country?

If you have had standing water sitting in your home for 2 days or more, for any reason, then chances are things are starting to mold and you are breathing in mold spores with can cause adverse health effects. The flood waters will also contain bacteria and other microorganisms or chemicals that could get into the air in your home. As you are cleaning up your water damage, there are other health affecting concerns to be aware of, such as lead, asbestos, carbon monoxide and cleaning products.

  • Remove any standing water since bacteria can multiply quickly in standing water. Once there, you can easily inhale them leading to such imparities a Salmonella, Giardia, Ecoli and more. Even if the flood water was rain, it can still get mixed with dirt, sewage or other substances.
  • Special precautions must be taken if lead and/or asbestos are present. Airborne asbestos can occur if items containing asbestos are disturbed. Asbestos cans cause mesothelioma (a cancer of the abdominal linings and chest) or lung cancer.
  • Lead is a leading cause of adverse side effects in children due to it being a highly toxic metal. Many older homes still contain lead-based paint and removing this paint could leave elevated concentrations of lead dust floating in the air.
  • Separate items meant for cleaning or disposal. Throw away item that absorb water like carpeting and padding, drywall, and furniture. Items being disposed of should be done in 24-48 hours.
  • Items like glass, metal and HARD plastic can usually be cleaned and sanitized. Clean the items thoroughly with water and detergent. If you choose to disinfect, the surfaces must be cleaned first for the disinfectant to work.
  • Cleaning and drying air ducts can be extremely difficult at best. Using chemical biocides on flooded duct work for your heating and cooling system has been suggested for the best results. You need to determine if the chemicals you are using are made of and if it will be appropriate to use.

It would be best to hire a professional water restoration company to be sure your property is completely safe.