Experts: Texas Tech Toxicologists Warn of Toxic Chemicals in Water from Northeastern Flooding

Texas Tech University toxicologists warns people to stay out of floodwaters.

Pitch:

After studying how pollutants travel in the wake of the flooding in New Orleans that followed after Hurricane Katrina, Texas Tech University toxicologists warns people to stay out of floodwaters.

Experts:

Ron Kendall, director, The Institute of Environmental and Human Health, Texas Tech University, (806) 885-4567 or ron.kendall@tiehh.ttu.edu. Steve Presley, associate professor, The Institute of Environmental and Human Health, Texas Tech University, (806) 885-4567 or steve.presley@tiehh.ttu.edu

Talking Points:

  • Once damage from floodwater recedes, then comes concerns about black mold and other toxic chemicals left behind.
  • People should stay out of the floodwaters at all costs, unless wearing protective boots or waders to avoid skin exposure.
  • If someone has to navigate floodwaters and can do so safely, do so in a boat.

Quotes:

“We think floodwaters represent a significant threat for water damage and serious mold problems, but also for transfer and deposition of environmental chemicals and various toxic substances,” said Ron Kendall.

“Everyone’s garage and service stations and chemical plants are being flooded. So, pesticides, degreasers and cleaning agents can potentially float out into the environment. Those chemicals know no boundaries. Once they’re in the water, they go just about anywhere,” said Ron Kendall.

“We’ve learned from Katrina and New Orleans that in these serious flood events, the floodwater is very damaging, but then we also have to contend with black mold and toxic chemicals. The flooding in the Northeast is a bad situation,” said Steve Presley.