Rockton community members discuss health concerns with environmental medicine specialist

Local News

ROCKTON, Ill. (WTVO) — Despite receiving the all clear from health officials, some Rockton residents are worried about long-term safety.

Community members were able to meet virtually with the Illinois Sierra Club and an Occupational and Environmental Medicine specialist, Tuesday evening.

Residents were able to ask a wide range of questions, like is it safe for their children and pets to be outside, and is the air safe.

“The air in the area is certainly able to be breathed,” Dr. Peter Orris, University of Illinois Professor of Occupational and Environmental Medicine explained.

Sierra Club’s Chair of the National Clean Air Team said the clean up of the ChemTool site could stir up any potential chemicals left there.

“To understand that they’re going to have to remove everything that’s on the surface of the site and probably some of the contaminated soils,” she said. “The disaster is not over, just the fire is over. The exposures depending on how close you are to the site, could be continuing.”

Dr. Orris says each individual’s case is unique.

“If you in fact have significant asthma and you’re having trouble breathing this is perhaps treatable with your inhalers, but in this kind of a situation you may well thinking of checking in with your healthcare provider,” he said. “The good news is any brief exposures such as this, and when I mean brief, I mean for a few days to a week and that sort of thing, will be immeasurable on your health conditions long range.”

The Sierra Club recorded the entire discussion and will be sending out to residents.

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