Helping neighbors recover from Hurricane Harvey

The devastating impacts from Hurricane Harvey have displaced thousands of people in Texas and Louisiana and completely upended their lives. As our neighbors in the Gulf Coast begin the difficult process of putting their lives and homes back together, the chemical industry is trying to help with the recovery effort.

One of the most acute and immediate threats to a previously flooded home is the growth of mold and bacteria that can endanger public health. Texas A&M researchers confirmed E.coli bacteria levels in floodwaters around Houston are 125 times the safe level for swimming. Disinfecting household surfaces with chlorine bleach is a reliable and safe way to help eliminate bacteria and mold growth. However, finding chlorine bleach has proven challenging as stores 200 miles outside of Houston are out of stock.

To help alleviate these bleach shortages, the American Chemistry Council’s (ACC) Chlorine Chemistry Division has donated over 18,000 gallons to be distributed to communities most impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Additionally, ACC member Olin Corporation partnered with the Red Cross to help distribute 15,000 gallons of bleach and $250,000 in aid for those reeling from this disaster. To learn more about disinfecting surfaces after a flood, click here.

Bleach can help in other ways too. Some people may not have clean running water to drink, or the ability to boil water to disinfect it. If it is not possible to boil water for drinking, using drops of chlorine bleach is a safe alternative. Detailed instructions can be found here.

Beyond the immediate need to protect the health of those in homes that experienced flooding or are without drinking water, longer term aid to restore the communities is also needed. The chemical industry is committed to help families rebuild. Texas is a concentrated chemical producing region of the country and Hurricane Harvey has impacted the employees essential to the chemical manufacturing process.

Thus, this tragedy hits particularly close to home for the industry, which employs almost 79,000 Texans and more than 25,000 Louisianans, many of them living in areas that are experiencing devastating flooding. ACC members have already donated over $30 million as well as provided unique forms of aid such as housing displaced staff, delivering water by helicopters, and providing in-kind chemical donations and manpower to help clean up the debris and rebuild impacted communities.

As the Gulf Coast continues to recover in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, ACC’s members know that families must be taken care of and homes must be rebuilt before employees can return to work. With the chemical industry aiding the affected communities, we hope a return to normal will come more quickly for the people impacted by Harvey’s devastation.

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