Mold Threatens Health Conditions In New Orleans
Orkin, Inc. partners with National Center for Healthy Housing, Catholic Charities and ACORN to battle mold
ATLANTA, June 19, 2006—Almost a year after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated New Orleans, the aftereffects of extensive flooding and roof damage continue to threaten local residents’ health and property. As residents face mounting pressures from the City of New Orleans to gut or demolish their flood-damaged homes, national pest control company Orkin, Inc., in partnership with several national nonprofit partners, treated 98 severely flood-damaged homes in New Orleans for mold infestation.
Working with the National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH), Orkin donated time and services June 12-16 to assist Catholic Charities’ Operation Helping Hands and the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN)’s Home Clean-Out Project in efforts to clean up neighborhoods and restore homes. After volunteers from these organizations identified and gutted damaged homes, many of which were occupied by low- to mid-income, elderly or disabled residents with little to no flood insurance, Orkin’s volunteer team of 13 began work.
The Orkin Ready Response Team—a group of Orkin employees with a vast knowledge of pests, extensive training and years of experience in the pest control industry—applied BORA-CARE® and MOLD-CARE™ products, which are low in toxicity, to help protect homes from mold growth. As a secondary benefit, this application of BORA-CARE® discourages termite activity, which has increased in New Orleans due to wet conditions.
“We are very proud of the Orkin Ready Response Team’s dedication to safeguard public health and property for those homeowners who so desperately need assistance. Orkin is thrilled to join these notable charities in protecting and preparing homes for the safe return of New Orleans residents,” said Glen Rollins, president and COO of Orkin, Inc.
Mold, which can damage health and property, is a major problem for New Orleans residents. Many homes have been abandoned and unopened for nearly a year, allowing harmful mold to thrive. According to NCHH Executive Director Rebecca Morley, mold exposure may cause allergic reactions, such as asthma attacks, sneezing, runny nose, red eyes and skin rash. Even dead mold spores pose a risk, especially for children and adults with respiratory problems.
“We recently found indoor mold levels that were 100 times greater than outdoor levels during remediation work, said Morley, who noted that Aspergillus fungi, which can cause infections in susceptible individuals, were among the most frequently detected fungal species.
Orkin and its partners are cautioning flood victims against the sole use of bleach for removal of mold because bleach may not penetrate deeply enough to remove mold from wood structures or prevent it from returning.
“Catholic Charities’ Operation Helping Hands project helps needy homeowners reoccupy their homes in the greater New Orleans area,” said Joan Diaz, project manager of Operation Helping Hands for Catholic Charities in New Orleans. “It is encouraging to work with volunteers from other organizations and companies that share similar philanthropic goals.”
“Our Home Clean-Out Project demonstrates ACORN’s commitment to preserving the homes of residents displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, said Tanya Harris, Lower Ninth Ward community organizer for ACORN. “We appreciated working with Orkin and Catholic Charities on this large-scale effort to rebuild a city in need.”
While these organizations donated volunteers and time, other companies donated products and services: Safety South (safety products), Nisus (BORA-CARE® and MOLD-CARE™ products) and Systems Environmental (sprayers at cost).
About Orkin, Inc.
Founded in 1901, Atlanta-based Orkin, Inc. is an industry leader in essential pest control services and protection against termite damage, rodents and insects in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Panama. With more than 400 locations, Orkin’s almost 8,000 employees in the United States and Canada serve approximately 1.7 million customers. Orkin is a wholly owned subsidiary of Rollins, Inc., which is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (ROL). Learn more about Orkin by visiting www.orkin.com and www.rollins.com.
The following Orkin employees comprised the Orkin ReadyResponse Team:
- Frank Meek, Director of Technical Services (Atlanta, Ga.)
- Rob Sutherland, Residential Branch Manager (Indianapolis, Ind.)
- Jeff Angelo, Residential Branch Manager Trainee (Atlanta, Ga.)
- Gary Simpson, Commercial Service Manager (Denver, Colo.)
- Ken Colpaert, Commercial Service Manager (Phoenix, Ariz.)
- Jim Ansley, Residential Branch Manager (Tyler, Texas)
- Eduardo Ramirez, Commercial Branch Manager Trainee (Houston, Texas)
- Ernest Butler, Commercial Branch Manager Trainee (Houston, Texas)
- Rick Laster, Residential Branch Manager (North Dallas, Texas)
- Don Tavlin, Assistant Region Manager (New Orleans, La.)
- William Dear, Residential Branch Manager (Wilmington, N.C.)
- Joel Perez, Residential Service Manager (Miami, Fla.)
- Mark Faliveno, Termite Claims Manager (New Orleans, La.)
About the National Center for Healthy Housing
National Center for Healthy Housing is the only national non-profit organization dedicated to developing and promoting practical measures to protect children from residential environmental hazards while preserving affordable housing. NCHH seeks scientifically valid and practical strategies to make homes safe from hazards, to alert low- income families about housing-related health risks, and to help them protect their children. NCHH also works with governmental and non-governmental organizations to develop standards and programs and guide their implementation through insurers, lenders, federal and state laws and regulations, community organizations, and the courts. For more information, visit www.centerforhealthyhousing.org.
About Catholic Charities
Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans is the largest health and human service agency in the Gulf South. Since Hurricane Katrina, Catholic Charities has served nearly 500,000 people of all faiths and backgrounds. Through more than 30 programs, Catholic Charities addresses housing, hunger, family, health and other issues in eight Louisiana civil parishes.
ACORN is the nation’s largest community organization of low- and moderate-income families, with over 200,000 member families organized into 800 neighborhood chapters in 99 cities across the country. Since 1970, ACORN has taken action and won victories on issues of concern to our members, including better housing for first-time homebuyers and tenants, living wages for low-wage workers, more investment in our communities from banks and governments, and better public schools. Please visit www.acorn.org to learn more.