Mold exposure: Plight of the poor and vulnerable people after flood experience

Indoor Air Cartoon Journal, September 2018, Volume 1, #25

A reminder of the consequences of human impact on the environment and climate change has become a common occurrence. Example of such consequences is the natural disaster-causing flood, e.g. typhoon, hurricane or tropical cyclone, that has become a common occurrence during raining season. Many lives and infrastructure, including buildings, are lost due to the disaster. Evacuation and warning of people of impending flooding are precautionary measures usually taken to prevent loss of lives. There are several researchers now looking into reducing damage to infrastructure through the development of resilient buildings/infrastructure that can withstand such natural disaster. The development of resilient buildings that can help reduce mold growth on the indoor surface, especially after flood event is essential. According to the literature, exposure to microbial pollutants from mold could lead to adverse respiratory irritation and infection-related diseases. People with a history of respiratory related diseases, children, and old people are very vulnerable. If proper care is not taken, the respiratory related diseases may lead to their death. This means one may survive flood experience but succumb to adverse health effects of mold it left behind.

Ventilation, cleaning, and drying out-building, while wearing protective equipment, is essential to reducing building occupants’ exposure. Items that were submerged in water that could be the host for mold growth should be discarded. It is also advisable to seek professional mold remediation help to reduce mold exposure. However, not everyone can afford the cost of engaging professional mold remediation help. So many poor people are affected by the natural disaster-causing flood. The question for built environment professionals, researchers, and policymakers to answer is how should a building be designed, constructed, maintained, and operated to achieve resilience needed to reduce building occupants’ exposure to mold growth?

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Do you want to know more about this topic? Read Benedict et al. (2014), Brandt et al. (2006), and Rath et al. (2007) papers.

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