July 12, 2019

2019 Media Alert: American Industrial Hygiene Association Offers Guidance for Flood Response

What: As the Gulf Coast braces for Tropical Storm Barry to make landfall as a hurricane, the American Industrial Hygiene Association is reaching out to local media, offering resources on planning and preparedness prior to the storms, as well as cautioning the public and workers during the flood recovery and cleanup.

Why: Floods not only impact the public health, property, and environment of those in the immediate zone, but their effects can ripple hundreds of miles away. In 2018, flooding due to extreme weather claimed 80 lives, and the cost to property and crop damage was a staggering $1.6 billion. Communities affected must deal not only with the dangers of rising water, but also with the hazards of a flood’s aftermath, such as contamination of drinking water due to broken pipes; mold and mildew thriving in post-flooding conditions, causing serious respiratory issues; or property risks due to structural damage, gas leaks, chemicals, and contaminated materials. These potential hazards are why AIHA urges members of the public to have their property inspected by certified experts before beginning cleanup and recovery. AIHA’s “Health and Safety Issues in Natural Disasters” guidance can help consumers and industrial hygienists navigate through government agencies and private industry references addressing potential hazards that may be encountered after a disaster occurs.

Workers responding to flooded areas face the greatest risks. They can better protect themselves through education about the various hazards commonly associated with floods. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration website has several resources available for workers on dealing with flood-related issues, such as biohazards, debris removal, and pests like rodents and insects. Additionally, AIHA’s Consultants Listing, the premier directory of industrial hygiene and occupational and environmental health and safety consultants, contains a listing of industrial hygiene professionals who can provide guidance during flood recovery and cleanup.

Where: For more information, visit AIHA’s Flood Response Resource website.

Who: Founded in 1939, AIHA is a nonprofit organization serving professionals dedicated to the anticipation, recognition, evaluation, control, and confirmation of environmental stressors in or arising from the workplace that may result in injury, illness, or impairment, or affect the well-being of workers and members of the community.

AIHA provides comprehensive education programs and other products and services that help its members maintain the highest professional standards. More than half of AIHA’s nearly 8,500 members are Certified Industrial Hygienists, and many hold other professional designations. AIHA serves as a resource for those employed in the industrial, consulting, academic, and government sectors.

Contact: For additional information please contact Sue Marchese​, AIHA's Director of Communications.