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IDPH found no environmental sampling data on the composition of chemical contamination at the site. At this time, IDPH is most concerned about the physical hazards left by the fire at the site because people can easily enter the grounds through the damaged fence. The fire is known to have been caused by arsonists who gained access through the fence. In addition to injuries that could occur to curious trespassers, especially children, the Canton Fire Chief is concerned that further arson damage can occur if site access is not limited. Many burned buildings are structurally compromised and could collapse. The undamaged buildings at the site could also attract indigents seeking shelter in the buildings as the weather gets colder. Besides the burned portions of the site, the salvage business can pose a threat to curious children playing in the mobile homes or the old refrigerators.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency personnel sampled building debris for asbestos on September 12, 1997. The preliminary results indicated that asbestos was present, but IDPH does not have copies of those results at this time. [1] If the material is confirmed to be asbestos, people in surrounding homes and businesses are likely exposed to asbestos. Studies have shown that exposure, such as in occupational settings, to high levels of asbestos in air can cause build up of scar tissue in the lungs resulting in a condition known as asbestosis. Breathing asbestos also increases the chance of getting lung cancer or mesothelioma, a cancer of the membrane surrounding the lung. [6]

People who were in the path of the plume produced by the fire breathed what was in the plume. This plume could have carried ACM, volatile organic compounds, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and particulates. This plume, as with all smoke, would have especially affected those with compromised respiratory systems.

The remaining hazardous wastes on the site also concern IDPH staff. Known hazardous wastes are stored in drums and containers throughout the site. In addition, USTs on the site contain unknown quantities of paint and fuel waste. No investigation has been done to determine if the USTs are intact or if soil around the tanks is contaminated. In some storage areas, surrounding soil is stained, suggesting tanks may be leaking.

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