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March 13, 2023

Managing Hazardous Dust Following a Fire Event

home fire burningLarge-scale urban fires, like wildfires or chemical fires as recently experienced in East Palestine, Ohio, may pose unique hazards to nearby communities not just during the fire but also in its aftermath. While people may primarily associate air and water contamination with the combustion products of a fire, there is an often-overlooked hazard of residual dust. This dust can be hazardous to communities since it contains a chemical history of the fire and can settle in soil, migrate into waterways, and infiltrate homes and buildings. By doing so, the dust may present chronic or long-term health risks for the community that require careful mitigation over time.

To help manage dust removal and exposure, the Chemical Insights Research Institute (CIRI) shared some tips and reference materials on the health hazards of residual dust; strategies for removal and cleaning; ways to better protect human health after these events; and how to make an economical DIY air cleaner for particle removal.