UAB Toxicologist Dr. Michelle Fanucchi on Health Risks of Breathing in Toxic Fumes

A fire at Reliable Formed Plastics on Second Avenue North started by accident on Wednesday around 3pm.

UAB toxicologist Dr. Michelle Fanucchi said that the health risks of breathing in the fumes from the fire could include eye irritation, respiratory irritation and maybe some gastrointestinal problems.
However, based on how clear the sky is Thursday, she did not suspect there were any long-lasting impacts to the environment from plastic particles the fire sent up into the atmosphere.
"Since the air is fairly clear here today it seems like it was fairly dispersed. Once they're dispersed, the concentration goes down. Whenever the concentration goes down, the risk goes down," she said.
Local creeks, however, could be a different story.
"Because the firefighters had to come and spray water on the building and the water probably ran down into the storm sewers, there is probably some chemicals that ended up in the creeks where the storm sewers run into," Fanucchi said.
From there, they could end up being consumed by aquatic species and moving up the food chain into fish that could potentially be eaten.

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