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Asbestos raining down from mill fire?

LRAPA just sent out his notice this afternoon (July 24) about pollution from the mill fire in Springfield last week:

Lane Regional Air Protection Agency (LRAPA) has received a complaint of possible debris from Swanson Mill Fire on private property. These burned materials range from small flakes of ash to larger palm-sized charred debris. Some of these materials have tested positive for containing asbestos. Further testing is being conducted to confirm these results at an accredited lab and results are expected by tomorrow.

Asbestos can be harmful when airborne. “If you see fire debris on your property that is white, beige, or gray in color, and is felt-like in appearance, please do not disturb the material,” said Jo Niehaus, a spokesperson for LRAPA. “As long as the debris is solid and undisturbed, it will reduce risk of possible fibers becoming airborne.”

LRAPA would like people to take caution if they decide to handle the debris personally. It is difficult for asbestos fibers to be airborne when the material is wet and reduces the risk of exposure. High pressure water hoses are not recommended because they may break apart the remains. It is recommended to use protective masks, gloves, and to use a water mister to wet down the material and store it in a sealable plastic bag. To dispose of the collected material, please call Lane County Department of Public Works, Waste Management Division at 682-4120.

If you believe that your property has also collected the debris, please call our office at 736-1056, we are currently working with the Swanson group to investigate all possible cases. For more information, please call Jo Niehaus, LRAPA’s public affairs manager at 736-1056 ext. 217.