Tips for Safe Cleanup of Fire Ash and Debris
From the San Diego Chapter of California Landscape Contractors Association:
The local fires have resulted in large volumes of fire ash and debris. When mandatory evacuations are lifted, residents who return to their effected homes and neighborhood should use caution when they come in contact with these materials.
According to the California Department of Health and Human Services, ash deposited by forest fires is relatively non-toxic and similar to ash found in fireplaces, however, any ash, particularly from ash and debris found inside burned structures will contain small amounts of cancer-causing chemicals or carcinogens. It’s important to note that ash may be irritating to the skin (especially to those with sensitive skin) and if breathed could irritate the nose and throat causing coughing and even trigger asthmatic attacks in people who have asthma.
In an effort to avoid possible health problems the California EPA has developed a list of recommended steps to follow when cleaning up after a fire:
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