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Implications of Hurricane Harvey on Environmental Public Health in Harris County, Texas

Abstract

Hurricane Harvey, a Category-4 hurricane, dropped more than 40 in. of rain across Harris County, Texas, over 4 days, inundating the third-most populous county in the U.S. and damaging an estimated 136,000 structures. Most major roadways were flooded, impeding rescue and recovery efforts. An estimated 120,000 customers in the Houston area experienced power outages; many were without power for several days. The heavily industrialized area experienced accidental releases of numerous air pollutants from the petrochemical industry, and several Superfund sites were underwater for days, delaying assessment of the potential chemical contamination to nearby waterways. The purpose of this article is to 1) provide an overview of the historic flooding event, 2) identify vulnerable populations, 3) highlight the potential environmental public health risks associated with the storm, and 4) provide recommendations for future action.


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Speaker / Author:
Dhitinut Ratnapradipa, PhD, Department of Population Health, Sam Houston State University
Christine Cardinal, MPH, JD, Department of Population Health, Sam Houston State University
Kendra L. Ratnapradipa, PhD, Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Saint Louis University
Amanda Scarbrough, PhD, Department of Population Health, Sam Houston State University
Yue Xie, MHA, MEng, PhD, Department of Population Health, Sam Houston State University
Month Year:
September 2018
Volume#:
81.2
Page #:
24-32
Publication Month:
September 2018