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As Oceans Rise and Flooding Becomes Commonplace, is Mold the Next Big Health Threat?

entrance and staircase of the House invaded by mud 1

A new study from the Union of Concerned Scientists shows that the prevalence of major coastal flooding in the United States, particularly along the eastern seaboard, will increase at an ever quickening pace over the next few decades. In 15 years’ time, the study posits, major cities — from Portland, Maine to New York City, Savannah, Georgia to Freeport, Texas — will be majorly flooded at least twice per month. Some communities will have 48 major flooding incidents per year, or an average of four per month.

It’s not just coastal cities and their inhabitants that should worry. The Natural Resources Defense Council suggests that the rivers, lakes, and other major bodies of water in the more landlocked areas of the country are also beginning to flood at an accelerated rate. The flooding of the Mississippi River in June 2014 most powerfully proves this point, as a sudden increase of the river’s waters of more than 20 feet saw incredible flooding from Iowa to Missouri.

Property Damage, Increase of Black Mold of Equal Concern.
One of the chief concerns is, of course, damage to property. A recent study published in Natural Climate Change, a scientific journal, estimates that the bill for coastal damage in particular will reach $1 trillion annually by 2050.

Beyond loss of property, the health concerns are also significant. There is the matter of deaths caused directly by flooding to consider, but the insidious nature of toxic molds is already giving areas affected by increased flooding pause. Since molds, like dangerous black molds, thrive in areas where there has been flooding, a growing number of homeowners are having to deal with the microbial scourge every year.

Officials in Lincoln, Nebraska, an area which has endured serious flooding recently, have launched a new public health campaign, encouraging residents with wet homes and basement flooding to be cognizant of mold growth in their homes. Because mold is spread through spores, one infected home could easily turn into a much bigger problem, one which could cause serious respiratory issues and even deaths. It’s a problem that, if current predictions hold true, will be something that more and more of the country will have to deal with sooner than later.

Have you experienced the effects of household flooding firsthand? Share your story with our readers in the comments below.

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