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Chemical fire could release dangerous toxins into environment

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chemtool fire

(WSIL)---The chemical fire at the Chemtool Plant in Rockton, Illinois, can put residents in danger from more than just the flames.

RELATED: What’s next in fighting the Chemtool fire

Because of the chemical fire, there could be carcinogens and other dangerous particles that can affect the air and surrounding environment.

Health and safety experts who are monitoring the Chemtool fire say they are not aware of any tests that would show any health risks other than short term irritation, not unlike what you would normally experience with smoke inhalation.

But according to Dr. Jia Liu, a SIU Assistant Professor in Environmental Engineering, there is still a chance the water, air, and land can be contaminated by the release of toxins.

These effects can be corrected, but it is important to stay safe for the time being.

MORE: Illinois EPA wants AG to pursue legal action against Chemtool for alleged environmental violations

"If you cannot escape or cannot evacuate, just stay indoors if you're close to that area. But if you can, I stress that you leave that area for several days. Because the contaminants in the air, the concentration will be diluted with time," said Liu.

Liu also said it's important to follow the Illinois Emergency Management Agency's guidelines at this time.

If residents are concerned with breathing in toxins, wearing a mask while outdoors can help prevent carcinogens from getting into the lungs.

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Madeline Parker

Madeline Parker is a Multimedia Journalist at News 3 WSIL. Madeline joined the team in 2020 and graduated from Southern Illinois University Carbondale with a Bachelor’s in Electronic Journalism and a minor in Communication Studies.

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