When levels of arsenic, cadmium, vanadium, and lead were tested in flooded Midwestern homes, totals were substantially higher than the maximum levels that the Environmental Protection Agency considers safe. It is not unexpected, since floodwaters are known to contain sewage, industrial waste, petroleum products, bacterial poisons such as E. coli and Vibrio vulnificus, biohazards (asbestos, PCBs and dioxin ) as well as construction material dissolved or degraded into standing water.
After the toxic soup dries, in the course of mud and debris removal, it is crucial to treat the area as a toxic zone and wear appropriate biohazard protective gear. Inhalation of toxic dust is obviously bad for your health. In addition to the sediment, mold growth of species such as the hazardous Stachybotrys chartarum will be difficult to control, especially if there are damaged roofs and plumbing, permitting water access to the area.
As any mold growth indoors is going to be destructive to construction materials–after all, mold feeds on cellulose–it is crucial to remove mold infested walls, roofing, etc. However professional mold assessment reports provide documentation on the type and quantity of mold for insurance purposes. Such documentation can prove very important from the courtroom to the hospital ward.