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According to Mayor Bloomberg, Hurricane Sandy flooded 70,000 – 80,000 New York City homes. About 180,000 to 210,000 New Yorkers could be currently exposed to Sandy-related mold.

Mold can cause serious health problems, particularly for seniors and young children, who make up over 25% of the population in Sandy-affected neighborhoods. Mold exposure has been linked to a number of illnesses, and chronic exposure can even result in permanent lung disease, according to the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Mold exposure is also shown to seriously exacerbate asthma and other respiratory illnesses. That doesn’t bode well for communities that were already suffering from alarming rates of asthma before Sandy hit. A total of 30,000 asthma related emergency room visits were made in Sandy-affected neighborhoods between 2008 and 2010. In Red Hook, one of the neighborhoods that saw the greatest devastation, a staggering 26% of residents suffer from asthma. That’s more than 5 times the citywide average.

For more information about the dangers of mold, download our factsheet.