Health issues raise concerns after Harvey

Published 1:09 pm Monday, October 16, 2017

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


Staying a structure with mold may cause serious health risks.

“People need o understand the potential health risk,” Executive Director of Gulf Coast Health Center Dr. Marsha E. Thigpen said during a press conference held on Thursday at Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church in Port Arthur.

The press conference was held by concerned citizens on behalf of Disaster Assistance PATZ and Help! I’m Hurting Inc., a non profit organization to address concerns surfacing after Hurricane Harvey.

Rashes, upper respiratory infections, congested heart failure and COPD are among the possibilities one can experience from long term exposure to mold according to Thigpen.

In 2004 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people; with asthma symptoms in people with asthma; and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition. The IOM also found limited or suggestive evidence linking indoor mold exposure and respiratory illness in otherwise healthy children according to the CDC website.

“If you are experiencing symptoms, you need to talk to your health care provider before the condition becomes permanent,” Thigpen said. “Mold can grow behind the sheetrock. Seek guidance if you plan to stay in your home.”

Thigpen said her main concern is about patients and citizens health.

Jefferson County Commissioner Precinct 3 Michael Shane Sinegal is gathering names of those staying in their homes with mold.

“I am targeting the elderly and handicapped,” Sinegal said. He added it was to help those individuals receive aid if needed for the repairs.

Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church Senior Pastor and Executive Director Help! I’m Hurting Inc. Randy Vaughn said there are health and housing issues in need of being addressed.

“Many citizens are sleeping in molded homes or in cars,” Vaughn said. “Homes are not being inspected for mold. The level of mold in houses are not being identified. If not monitored or checked, the mod grows by the day.”