The devastating impacts from Hurricane Harvey have displaced thousands of people in Texas and Louisiana and completely upended their lives. As our neighbors in the Gulf Coast begin the difficult process of putting their lives and homes back together, the chemical industry is trying to help with the recovery effort.
One of the most acute and immediate threats to a previously flooded home is the growth of mold and bacteria that can endanger public health. Texas A&M researchers confirmed E.coli bacteria levels in floodwaters around Houston are 125 times the safe level for swimming. Disinfecting household surfaces with chlorine bleach is a reliable and safe way to help eliminate bacteria and mold growth. However, finding chlorine bleach has proven challenging as stores 200 miles outside of Houston are out of stock.
To help alleviate these bleach shortages, the American Chemistry Council’s (ACC) Chlorine Chemistry Division has donated over 18,000 gallons to be distri...
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After the shock and heartbreak of experiencing a flood comes the clean up to prevent further damage and spread of disease. Flood cleanup starts with removing flood water (usually contaminated with sewage) and drying the affected areas. Evaluate all items touched by flood waters, deciding which to keep and which to toss. Whenever possible, use a disinfecting solution of chlorine bleach to disinfect items touched by flood waters.
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- When using a disinfecting solution to clean up after a flood, remember to:
- Wear gloves and protective clothing. Do not touch your face or eyes.
- Change the disinfecting solution often and whenever it is cloudy.
- Be thorough. Wash and dry everything well.
- When finished, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, even if you have worn gloves.
- Wash contaminated clothing in the hottest possible water with detergent and chlorine bleach if fabric instructions permit.
- If an item got wet, assume it is contam...
If you live in a flood-prone area, are you prepared for the next deluge? According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), fast moving water that reaches just over your ankles can knock you off your feet. And don’t try to drive through it. Driving on flooded roads is the most common thunderstorm-related hazard that can kill you, according to NOAA. It is especially difficult to recognize flood danger in darkness or other conditions of poor visibility. As the National Weather Service urges, if you come to a flooded portion of roadway, “Turn Around Don’t Drown®”.
Head for the Hills
If it is necessary to evacuate your home, head for higher ground at a pre-designated meeting place known to your family. Pet owners should have an emergency plan for their pets that includes shelter, food and water. If possible, turn off electrical power, gas and water supplies before leaving. If flooding is a common risk where you live, you may be able to avoid the backflow...
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