Tags: flood | victims | health | disaster | victims | Vermont | Irene

Flood Victims in Vermont Could Face Health Disaster Similar to Haiti

Thursday, 01 September 2011 04:26 PM

Vermont residents living in the flooded towns ravaged by Hurricane Irene face medical challenges similar to those in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans or earthquake-stricken Haiti, albeit on a smaller scale, but no less serious, health experts told Newsmax Health.
“The flood victims in Vermont could face problems for years, just like the people in New Orleans are still dealing with problems left by Hurricane Katrina,” said Russell Blaylock, M.D., a nationally recognized board-certified neurosurgeon, who writes on wellness and environmental dangers, and is also the author of “The Blaylock Wellness Report.”
Arthur Fournier, M.D., professor and vice chair of family medicine and community health at University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, echoed Dr. Blaylock’s viewpoint. “Many of the things we are seeing in a Third World country like Haiti have come to pass in the Vermont disaster. Who in a thousand years would have predicted that?”
In Vermont, 13 towns were stranded by flash flooding from last Sunday’s hurricane. Federal and state officials are now on site, inspecting damaged water and sewage treatment plans, and trying to assess chemical and hazardous materials risk.
Among the problems that Dr. Fournier expects in Vermont is pneumonia in flood victims who have lost their homes in the disaster. Also, he noted, “They may not be dealing with cholera, but they will have problems from salmonella and shigella,” which are intestinal diseases caused by eating contaminated food.
Contamination is of grave concern to victims’ health, Dr. Blaylock agreed. In Vermont, the people under order to boil their water should filter it as well, even after the water is declared safe, he said.

“A lot of sewage backs up in these older systems. The sewage gets into the pipes. Organisms live in these deposits and you can’t sterilize it, even by using chlorine,” Dr. Blaylock said.
Contamination is not only likely to come from sewage treatment plants, but also from pesticides and herbicides stored in water-damaged homes and garages, Dr. Blaylock noted. “These chemicals, which will be released, are neurotoxic and carcinogenic. They can cause cancer years later,” he said.
In addition, after the crisis, flood victims should get their homes checked for mold. Some mold is harmless, “but the black mold that can grow in water damaged buildings is very toxic,” said Dr. Blaylock.
Dr. Blaylock also writes frequently about his health concerns about fluoride. And, when the water treatment systems are disrupted, fluoride is put back in, and then can pour out of the water system at high levels, making the situation even worse, he said.
Since Vermont, unlike Haiti, has the resources of the U.S. government behind it, rebuilding will occur much quicker, noted Dr. Fournier. But, he added, “Make no mistake about it – the people there are suffering.”

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