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Detwiler Cleanup Warning – Toxic Substances In Burned Buildings

MARIPOSA COUNTY — As residents who have lost their homes deal with the aftermath, they are faced with yet another danger.

The Mariposa County Health Department warns that cleanup and removal of debris and ash from residential fires may be hazardous.

Ash and debris from burned buildings and homes can contain toxic substances due to the presence of synthetic and hazardous materials.
Many building materials may contain asbestos and older buildings often contain lead.

Household hazardous waste such as gasoline, cleaning products, pesticides, and other chemicals may have been stored in homes, garages, or sheds that may have burned in the fire. These materials can become concentrated in ash and soil following a fire.

It is important not to expose yourself, your family or others to any of these materials. Exposures can occur by sifting/raking through ash and debris, causing ash to become airborne and inhaled or ingested.

Mariposa County Public Health is working to secure assistance from State agencies that will ensure proper handling and disposal of debris and ash from the fire.

In the meantime, in order to protect your health and the health of your neighbors, property owners are advised not to begin cleanup activities.

Because ash and debris generated in the fire may be considered hazardous waste, do not transport ash or debris to landfills and transfer stations at this time. It is recommended that debris and ash from burned structures remain undisturbed until further instructions are issued.

This recommendation is in place to protect the health of anyone who may come into contact with the waste, including solid waste facility employees, solid waste haulers, and the public.

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Sierra News Online

Sierra News Online