Staten Island Sees Rise in Lung Disease After Sandy: Report

Experts said it could be related to noxious fumes or mold

Hurricane Sandy has contributed to a rise in lung disease and other health problems on Staten Island, possibly related to noxious fumes or mold, according to experts on a local health panel.

Doctors said during a discussion called "Your Life After Sandy" at a health expo Thursday that the storm has caused a rise in pulmonary disease, the Staten Island Advance reports.

Dr. Theodore Strange, associate chairman of medicine and vice president of medical operations for for Staten Island University Hospital, said the borough saw similar circumstances after 9/11.

The Advance did not specify the lung ailments that doctors are seeing.

Many homeowners cleaning up after the storm complained last year of what they called the "Sandy cough."

Kelly Lotz, a mother of five in Midland Beach, says she's never had medical problems in the past but began having trouble breathing after Sandy. She landed in the ICU, where she spent two days for pneumonia in both lungs.

Several nodules were found on Lotz's lungs, and three subsequent CAT scans have shown them variously growing, shrinking, disappearing and resurfacing. 

Lotz said since the mold-ridden home next door was torn down a few months ago, her health has improved. She's cautiously optimistic that she'll continue to get better but still wants answers.

Strange said depression and anxiety from the storm and its aftermath may also exacerbate diabetes and cardiac disease, although there are no local data about that yet. Doctors on the panel also said the storm may have affected people's abilities to get medication. 

Marc Santia contributed to this report. 

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