Solid Science Practical Solutions


Hurricane Sandy - One Year Later

Advisor – Hurricane Sandy One Year Later

One year after Hurricane Sandy attacked the east coast with its devastating winds and rains, there is still much work to be done.  From an indoor air quality perspective the main issue is mold.

Immediately following the storm many properties were physically inaccessible or structurally unsafe.  The homes and businesses that were hit the hardest, tragically had to be demolished.  Many of these are slowly being rebuilt.  The properties we now see as a primary concern are the homes, businesses and buildings where the damage was not as extensive, or as obvious.

The ideal conditions for mold are moist, dark spaces with limited air flow; precisely the conditions that existed following Hurricane Sandy.  In many cases properties sat vacant for weeks or months after the storm.  In other cases the clean up was quick and dirty; November was cold and people wanted to return to their homes and businesses.  Even when every precaution was taken to remove suspect materials and dry what remained, mold may have lingered in sheet rock, insulation, wood or inaccessible spaces in buildings.

How do you know if you have an issue?  Use your senses; specifically your eyes and nose.  Are there wet areas?  We tend to think of basements first, but wind damage to roofs may have led to water intrusion into attic spaces as well.  Note suspect building materials, such as sheetrock and wood.  Do you see evidence of visible mold growth?  Does the area smell musty?  Is anyone in the home/building experiencing upper respiratory symptoms?  Symptoms could include headaches, nasal congestion, coughing and sneezing in otherwise healthy people and exacerbation of symptoms in people with asthma.

If the answer is yes to any of these questions it may be time to call in professional help.  An environmental consultant/Industrial Hygienist can help you determine the extent of the issue, provide a scope of work for remediation, recommend a mold remediation company and let you know when it’s safe to return to the property. 

What does an Industrial Hygienist do?  If you are a homeowner, property manager, insurance representative or involved in a real estate transaction; a Industrial Hygienist can take the worry out of potential mold and other indoor air quality issues.

A Industrial Hygienist can:

  1. Provide an Initial Mold Assessment
  2. Provide a Scope of Work and project management for the remediation process
  3. Provide post-remediation verification (clearance) Inspections and Testing
  4. Provide mold prevention guidance

Garden State Environmental sends our best to everyone who continues to be affected by Hurricane Sandy.