Health Concerns Raised from Flooding

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Barberton flooding, 7/12

BARBERTON, Ohio– There are mounting concerns about possible health risks as homeowners begin the massive cleanup caused by the storms in Barberton.

The Summit County Public Health Department has been answering calls from concerned residents over the past 24 hours with questions about damaged items in the basement and what should be used during the cleanup.

Health officials are reminding residents that standing water is not clean, possibly contaminated by raw sewage, gasoline or chemicals stored inside homes and businesses before floodwaters came rushing in.

If accidentally ingested, doctors say it could cause major gastrointestinal issues.

Another concern is injury from people walking barefoot or in flip flops through flooded streets and basements.

Doctor Marguerite Erme, Summit County Public Health Medical Director says, “They can very easily get injured.  And because the waters tend to be infected with germs or contaminated with germs, I should say, and chemicals any open area could get exposed and they could end up with skin infections; that’s one of the things.”

As far as items in the basement, Registered Sanitarian Renee Dell says, “Anything that can’t be washed, they need to throw out.  So that includes mattresses, furniture, carpets, anything down in the basement that could have gotten floodwaters on it that could not be washed or sanitized.”