Woodstock, IL, April 30th, 2012 -- Illinois has traditionally experienced some of the worst tornadoes in the country’s history. In February of this year, a tornado caused extensive damage in Harrisburg, Illinois that resulted in three deaths. One month later another tornado hit southern Illinois resulting in more property damage and another fatality.
Although devastating to property damage and loss of life, theses two lethal tornadoes pale in comparison to the Tri-State tornado that occurred in March of 1925. That twister left 695 people dead and 2000 injured across Illinois, Missouri and Indiana.
Once the storms clear, people are faced with rebuilding their damaged homes and businesses. In the storm’s aftermath people do not always consider potential dangers they may face following these types of tragic natural disasters. One company that has been helping people avoid potential indoor environmental hazards following severe weather events is EC2, Inc.
“In a typical year, the U.S. sees over $1 billion dollars in property damage due to tornadoes alone,” reported Mr. Chambers, President of EC2. “Once people get over the shock of having property damaged by a twister they typically want to move on or rebuild as soon as possible. Many people are aware of hazards such as live electrical wires and leaking gas lines, but few think about the hazards associated with asbestos, lead-based paints, mold and bacteria that may have resulted from the storm damage.”
EC2 recommends people consider the following:
Mold can begin to grow in as short as 24 to 48 hours on many types of wet building materials and household belongings. It’s important to begin drying materials as soon as it is safe to do so. Some nonporous materials can be cleaned and salvaged, but most porous materials should be discarded if mold growth is present.
Sewage, Bacteria, Viruses & Chemicals
Water damage and flooding caused by a tornado can bring not only rainwater into a property, but also viruses, bacteria and chemical contaminants This may result from sewage that has leaked or from damaged chemical containers stored on the property.
Many materials found in older homes contain asbestos. When removing debris, these asbestos fibers can become aerosolized. Inhaled asbestos fibers can cause respiratory disease, lung cancer and mesothelioma.
Lead is a concern because it is a highly toxic metal. The disturbance or removal of materials containing lead-based paint from properties built before the 1978 ban on lead in paint may result in elevated concentrations of lead dust in the air.
EC2 recently sponsored an online educational video about avoiding indoor environmental hazards when rebuilding after tornado damage. It can be seen at:
About EC2, Inc.
EC2 is a leading provider of environmental consulting and inspection services for customers in the United States. Based in the Chicago area, the company provides their services to clients ranging from local companies and institutions to international Fortune 500 Corporations.