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Airborne mould poses serious health threat in New Orleans
by UK Independent (reposted)
Wednesday Nov 16th, 2005 10:43 PM
People who have returned to the devastated city of New Orleans are facing fresh problems from high levels of airborne mould, which experts say pose a serious health threat.
A leading environmental group yesterday released the results of a study carried out across the city that they said highlighted a significant danger. The group, the Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC), accused the government of failing to warn people of the issue. The findings are the first publicly available air quality tests in the city since Hurricane Katrina struck at the end of August.

"The outdoor mould spore concentrations could easily trigger serious allergic or asthmatic reactions in sensitive people," said Dr Gina Solomon, who led the NRDC team. "The indoor air quality was even worse, rendering the homes we tested dangerously uninhabitable by any definition."

The study looked at samples taken from 14 locations in the area, nine of which had been significantly flooded, and examined them for mould spores. They discovered the levels of such spores were extremely high inside flooded properties.

According to the National Allergy Bureau of the American Academy of Allergy and Immunology, any outdoor mould spore level greater than 50,000 spores per cubic metre is considered "very high". The spore counts outdoors in most flooded neighbourhoods tested by the NRDC reached well above that.

One outdoor site in Uptown was measured at 81,000 spores per cubic metre, while an indoor site in the same area had a count of 645,000 spores per cubic metre.

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