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Saharan Dust Storm to Trigger Respiratory Issues, Toxic Algae & Insurance Coverage Questions

A thick plume of Saharan desert could soon reach humid, tropical Florida. Dust from the Sahara Desert in Africa is currently making a 5,000 mile trek west across the Atlantic Ocean and is expected to arrive in the Gulf of Mexico later this week. The massive dust storm could last for several weeks in the Sunshine State.

Poor air quality is a possible impact from the dust, which could aggravate those suffering from respiratory issues such as asthma and COPD. Allergy sufferers may notice an increase in irritation from the dust as some of it mixes in closer to the surface. The air in a major Saharan dust outbreak can be harmful to people with breathing difficulties.

This year’s dust plume is thicker than normal, and many health specialists are concerned about those battling respiratory symptoms tied to COVID-19.

The giant Sahara dust cloud can also spark harmful algae blooms in Florida, NASA studies show. Mixed in with the Saharan dust is iron from the topsoil in Africa. When the iron ends up in the Gulf, it fertilizes the water which can begin the process of the toxic algae bloom. The link between these dust plumes and red tide is clear; research has shown after large plumes arrive, there is an increase in the harmful algae.

At Corless Barfield Trial Group, we are advocates for our policyholder clients. Meanwhile, Florida insurance companies’ exclusive goal is to protect their financial interests, so they find ways to deny coverage or reduce the claim payout.

Homeowners’ insurance in Florida typically offers coverage for damages caused by various natural phenomena, such as flood, fires, wind and storms, sinkholes, and hurricanes. But what about dust, and does your insurance policy cover damage to your property or injury to a person caused by the Saharan dust plume? For example, will your insurer tell you the loss is excluded by the “absolute pollution exclusion?” Most policies define “pollution” as being of purely human origin, not a dust storm made by Ole’ Mother Nature.

Our law firm has a deep understanding of insurance laws, terms of insurance coverage, and we will aggressively litigate your claim on your insurance policy. For a free, no obligation assessment of your claim, contact us at 813-258-4998.

There is a bright side to the Sahara dust: NOAA researchers discovered Saharan dust storms containing tiny specks of dust are linked to suppressed hurricane activity. The dust may put a pause on tropical storm and hurricane development.

The 2020 hurricane season had one of the most active starts in history, with three named storms forming by June 1 for the first time ever. But the tropics have been quiet ever since slow moving dust robs the air of its moisture and dust may decrease the sea surface temperature, leading to the suppression of hurricanes.

Corless Barfield Trial Group is a team of skilled and knowledgeable property insurance and personal injury trial lawyers. If you or a loved one has experienced an allergy injury, permanent health issues, or property damage, contact our Tampa-based insurance lawyers at 813-258-4998 for a free consultation. We will discuss your claim and whether it is covered by your insurance policy.  

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