Rockton residents report respiratory, skin irritation in aftermath of Chemtool fire

Local News

ROCKTON, Ill. (WTVO) — The Winnebago County Health Department says 45% of residents who responded to a survey about health effects of the Chemtool fire in June said they felt some sort of symptom.

WCHD Director Dr. Sandra Martell emphasized Wednesday that the results are from short term impacts of the disaster. The Chemtool factory exploded on June 14th and sent a black plume of smoke many miles into the air, and burned for several days.

Martell said the major points of the survey that stuck out to her was for those residents southeast of the blaze, who experienced the most symptoms, including respiratory, skin, eye, nose, and throat issues, as well as mental health problems.

Martell said the heath department is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about when they should send out a follow-up survey.

“Taking a look at ‘What does it look like at six months? What does it look like at a year?’ I think the other interesting part is, what policy decisions will communities begin to look at? We know property transfers over. When I say that, I mean what is the story we tell about this event,” Martell said.

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