HOUSTON - Wristbands being handed out Friday at Baylor College of Medicine Friday weren't just a fashion statement, they are part of research that could help protect survivors of the next storm like Harvey.
“We don’t really know the health effects from water and hurricane damage and from water that has been accumulated in our homes. We want to know what the long term effects are,” said Melissa Bondy with Baylor College of Medicine.
Oregon State University came up with the idea of using the trendy little fashion accessories to measure over 1,500 different types of chemicals, especially some of the muck people run into after a storm.
“It can measure pesticides, it can measure some of the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and other types of exposure,” said Bondy.
Folks still entering homes that took flood damage are eligible for the wristbands, but there’s also a questionnaire that everyone affected by Harvey can take.
“I’ve had multiple floods in the past but this is the worst experience I’ve ever had. Close to four feet of water in my house, and it literally decimated everything that I own,” said Houston resident Tara Myers.
Adding to the worry of replacing the material possessions is the fear of what victims may have been exposed to along the way.
“Cause you have no idea where that water is coming from as it’s entering your house. Even if it looks clean, it may have all types of bacteria and what not in it,” Meyers explained.
Participants will need to fill out the survey, and submit samples of both saliva and nasal secretions.
The participant will then just need to wear the wristband for seven days, logging how long they spend living in, mucking and re-mediating damaged property.
The bands are to be returned after a week for collection, giving scientists a real time look into just what we’re dealing with out here.
“Especially in an environment in Houston where we have the ship channel, where we have a lot of other types of exposure, that were unknown to us and things that happened during the hurricane that we never could have predicted,” said Bondy.