On the Radio: Floods take toll on Iowans’ health

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In its recent report to the Governor, members of the Iowa Climate Change Impacts Committee detailed just how much floods can threaten public health.

Listen to the details in this week’s radio segment: Iowa floods – Damaging public health

They swirl up hazardous waste, sewage and farm and industrial chemicals. And they leave behind moldy, unsafe homes and office buildings. Over the last two years, floods have cost us billions of dollars of property damage in Iowa, but something much more valuable too – our health.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

That’s the conclusion drawn by UI researchers David Osterberg and Peter Thorne in a new report.

When Iowans in cities like Elkader, Colfax and Palo returned to clean their homes and businesses, they were exposed to those pollutants along with toxic molds, which increased their risk of asthma and other respiratory illnesses

And in poorly ventilated houses without electricity people risked carbon monoxide poisoning from gas-powered pressure washers.

That was the case in June 2008 when 13 Cedar Rapids workers were treated for carbon monoxide exposure.

Iowa’s climate is changing. We’re seeing more extreme weather that leads to flooding – so let’s work together to reduce future damage and protect our health.

For more information, visit IowaEnvironmentalFocus.org.

I’m Jerry Schnoor from the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research.

Thank you.

Also, check out Peter Thorne’s recent column in the Cedar Rapids Gazette that addresses his research, and see below to learn about how the Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research has contributed to flood research.


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