Residents link health problems to silt
Christchurch Earthquake 2011
Recurring eye infections, new allergies and chronic coughs are among the health problems being linked to liquefaction silt and earthquake-damaged houses by Christchurch residents.
Two reports on the impact of liquefaction after the Canterbury earthquakes were released by Environmental Science and Research (ESR) last week.
The first report, which researched sewage-contaminated silt, found micro-organisms could remain in silt that was contaminated by sewage for more than five months, regardless of how deep the silt was.
The organisms could cause gastrointestinal illnesses.
The second report, which investigated the ultra-fine dust particles in the silt, said possible effects from airborne dust included respiratory problems and eye irritation, and exposure to PM10 could result in serious health effects, including premature death, the report said.
St Albans resident Tanya Hyde said she had developed allergies for the first time in her life since the quakes.
''I had a 90-day cough that would not go away despite various treatments,'' she said.
''It's mainly a respiratory problem, my chest being really tight and a lot of headaches.''
The only time the symptoms went away was when she went to Wanaka for a few days, and she now took medication every day to manage the allergies.
She believed the problem had developed through a combination of silt in the area after the quakes and the ''ancient plaster dust'' that was constantly crumbling into every room of her damaged villa.
Hyde did not know when her house would be repaired, but said her health ''can't hold out much longer''.
Paula Lambert, 51, of Avonside, said she had been unable to shake a recurring eye infection and had experienced a ''general stuffiness'' in her nose for about a year.
She had never experienced the problems before, and believed exposure to silt could be to blame as she lived on the edge of the red zone and spent a large amount of time cycling and on public transport.
She had also been feeling run down and tired since the quakes, which could also have contributed to the problems.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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