Asbestos Found in Debris from Indiana Plastics Fire, EPA Warns

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RICHMOND, Ind. – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is warning residents of east central Indiana not to touch any debris from the recent plastics fire, as it may contain asbestos, a substance that releases microscopic fibers when disturbed. 

According to the agency, residents with debris on their property should call them immediately, and the agency intends to gather data on the debris and safely remove it. 

The EPA found asbestos in samples of debris that fell in surrounding neighborhoods up to 1.5 miles from the fire. Asbestos can cause several types of cancer, including mesothelioma and lung, laryngeal, and ovarian cancer. 

The fire, which broke out Tuesday at a plastics recycling center, spewed various toxic chemicals into the air, including hydrogen cyanide and benzene, known to cause cancers such as leukemia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Fire crews working on extinguishing the fire reduced it to a single hot spot, and it is now considered contained, controlled, and 99% out.

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