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New Orleans Residents Face Health Risks

by Kevin Caruso

September 30, 2005

New Orleans residents who return to their homes will face contaminated water, mold, and dusty sediment, according to Dr. Frederick Cerise, director of Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.

“We've been testing around the city and it's not consistently clean and that's because there are still leaks in the system,” Cerise said. “So as the water comes out of the pumping stations, it's clean, but as it goes through the pipes because of the leaks there, there is still seepage. So [the quality of the water] is unpredictable.”

Cerise said that mold could pose serious problems for people with allergies, asthma, or weak immune systems, and some people could have a strong allergic reaction.

He thus recommends that residents wear protective masks in any enclosed areas or locations in which dangerous dust may be in the air.

Cerise also said that it was too early for the elderly and families with young children to return to the city.


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