Properties infested with mold after Superstorm Sandy pose serious health threats.
New York Congressman Michael Grimm teamed up with Superstorm Sandy relief organizations to tackle the lingering problem of mold on Staten Island. Congressman Grimm sent a letter to Mayor Bloomberg today to call for support in declaring abandoned properties a threat to public health.
Mold infestations have become a serious threat in the months following Superstorm Sandy. Mold can cause short and long term health problems. Scott McGrath, co-founder and treasure of relief organization Beacon of Health New York, says allergy-like symptoms and some cases of pneumonia have been reported.
Properties that were abandoned during Superstorm Sandy pose a particular threat. These empty houses are susceptible to mold infestations which can spread throughout an area.
Abandoned properties also attract illicit behavior and decrease overall quality of life in a neighborhood, according to McGrath. He says the properties should be removed quickly, “Get rid of these houses,” he said. “Any houses that have red tape that can’t be there - don’t wait eight months later and still have these houses exposing toxic mold to the community.”
While previous New York City relief measures provided assistance for the removal of mold from inside of occupied homes, no measures have been taken to address the problem in abandoned properties.