Common Air Quality Issues After A Flood And How To Handle Them

air ventilationIndoor air quality problems in a flooded home may seem like a low priority compared with the water damage you’re seeing with your own eyes. But invisible hazards in the air you’re breathing can be hazardous to your personal health in a way that your saturated surroundings and possessions aren’t. Here are some common examples of indoor air quality problems in a flooded home.

Toxins In Floodwater

By the time it got to your house, outdoor floodwater may have picked up a variety of dangerous substances along the way. Widespread flooding can be presumptively assumed to be tainted by raw sewage. Contamination may release airborne viruses as well as other microorganisms that cause lung infections when inhaled. Flooding typically also contains a brew of solvents, pesticides, ammonia and other manmade substances that give off toxic fumes.

After a house has been inundated by outdoor floodwater, the premises should be continuously ventilated with fresh outdoor air using high-volume fans. Water damage recovery teams typically wear protective gear including face shields and respirators when raw sewage contamination is suspected. If you are not equipped with proper equipment, do not enter the house until water damage professionals have determined it is safe.

Toxins In The Home

Mold spores typically exist both outdoors and indoors but remain in a dormant state until activated by contact with water. Mold starts growing and releasing millions of airborne reproductive spores in 24 to 48 hours after flooding. Within the enclosed confines of the house, the concentration of certain types of mold spores can quickly rise to levels that may be toxic when inhaled. Dust mites also thrive in a wet environment and become airborne allergens.

To avoid or limit exposure to toxic mold—in the immediate short term as well as the long term—time is of the essence after flooding. If professional mold remediation begins ASAP, airborne spore levels can be controlled and the risk that chronic mold contamination will gain a foothold in the home is minimized.

 

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