Could asbestos exposure result from fires?

In addition to the flames, the smoke created by fires can present certain dangers. Smoke inhalation on its own can cause substantial damage to a victim, but when other chemicals or toxic substances mix with the smoke, the results could be devastating for his or her health. This includes asbestos exposure that could occur during a fire, depending on the location. Ohio has certain locations such as old buildings and rail yards where this toxic compound exists, and during a fire, it could become airborne and lead to adverse health consequences.

The presence of asbestos is a concern in a fire that recently took place at a rail yard fire in the southwestern portion of the country. As smoke billowed from the location, some began to worry that a public health alert should be issued. However, it was determined that the risk was low. In fact, an allergist-immunologist proclaimed that required more than brief exposure. Some who have contracted asbestos-related diseases in the past may disagree.

The smoke is not the only thing that presents a danger either. Cleaning up after a fire where the toxic substance could be present also poses a risk to workers and anyone in the immediate area. Once the dust particles and fibers become airborne, they could easily post a health risk to anyone who comes into contact with them.

In addition to injuries and property damage from a fire, people living in certain areas of Ohio's cities and towns may need to worry about asbestos exposure, especially if they live close to the where the fire occurred. If that happens, it may be a good idea to undergo a medical examination as a precautionary measure. This is particularly important for firefighters and other workers who end up right at the center of the original blaze or the site where cleanup work remains ongoing.

Source: kob.com, "Environmental concerns raised after Rail Yards fire", Brittany Costello, April 25, 2018

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