PLAINFIELD, Ind. — Crews continue monitoring and sampling the air and water near the burned Walmart Distribution Center. Health officials have confirmed the smoke from the fire contained “high levels of fine particulate material.”
“In order to really look and compare against any specific health levels, we’re gathering information over a period of time to look at truly the overall impacts of this,” Jim Mitchell of the Environmental Protection Agency said. “Then we have people going out, looking at the debris fields, understanding what it is.”
A community FAQ page posted here says exposure to high levels of particulate material could cause health issues for people with pre-existing heart and lung conditions, young children and older people.
Health officials said they will continue monitoring air and water samples over the weekend to determine what chemicals spread through the smoke.
“We need to get the information as to where did all this debris and smoke, where is it going, how is it lingering,” Mitchell said.
The EPA advises people to wear an N95 mask and gloves if they plan to pick up debris from the fire that floated onto their properties. Health experts also said neighbors should wash their hands after cleaning up.
“If you’re picking up debris, we’d like you to wear gloves and a respirator cause it’s really fine material,” Mitchell said.
The online report referenced by the EPA said drinking water was not impacted, but Citizens Energy Group is still monitoring the water. The EPA said they should know this weekend some results of its testing of the air.