Staten Island Advance, November 20th, 2012
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Environmental issues are of concern in post-Sandy communities; however the concern is a two-sided issue.
“At this time the Department of Health is not aware of any air quality issues in Staten Island, and routine monitoring does not show any problems,” said Peter Spencer, the Mayor’s storm liaison to Staten Island.
However, Spencer emphasized that indoor environmental conditions where mold, dust and debris particles are of concern. These irritants, especially mold, can cause cause eye and throat irritation. People with asthma and allergies should try to avoid mold and dust altogether as it exacerbates that condition.
Residents must fully dry out their homes, the wood and remove plaster board that was soaked to ensure mold is not growing before rebuilding, said Spencer. Siding that was underwater should also be inspected, he said. Anyone doing work should wear a mask and gloves.
Ayal Lindeman, part of the Scientology Disaster Response Team and a practical nurse, has advice for proper use of a dusk mask. It should have a rating of N95 for filtering particulates and multiple masks are needed.
“People need to make sure they change their mask frequently, especially if it has become wet or has been resting on clothes caked with dirt,” he said outside the Oakwood Heights VFW Post, a hub of activity, supplying food and cleaning supplies to the neighborhood.
Respirators, he said, should be broken down and cleaned with a sterilizing solution such as Dakin’s.
“Don’t forget to get out and breath some fresh air,” he added.