ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The results are in from preliminary tests conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency in the area of that massive warehouse fire in south St. Louis last week.
“It’s all clear…it’s safe,” according to acting St. Louis health commissioner Melba Moore. “We have found that there is no asbestos in the material.”
The EPA’s Kansas City district conducted tests on 80 samples that were collected and submitted to them by the city of St. Louis Department of Health and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
Those agencies had decided to take a precautionary measure and have the EPA conduct the analysis.
David Bryan is a spokesman for EPA Region 7 in Kansas City.
He says they did two different samplings, starting with debris from right next to the burned-out warehouse on Park Avenue where they found only three samples containing trace amounts of asbestos.
“What we did on Saturday is we expanded that area and took another 58 samples,” Bryan explained. “And of the 58 samples there was not one detection of asbestos.”
Those tests stretched out to 4-5 blocks away from the fire site.
Health commissioner Moore said she realizes this is a relief to just about everyone, but perhaps confusing for some nearby residents who felt their health might be at risk due to their exposure to the warehouse blaze.
“I do know that residents have complained about irritated throat, watery eyes and that kind of thing because of the intensity of the smoke,” Moore said. “That should dissipate.”
According to David Bryan with the EPA, it’s safe enough to start cleaning up any debris left over from the fire that residents may have been too afraid to approach without this latest information.
“We are telling folks that the debris that you have in your yard probably does not have any asbestos,” according to Bryan. “We can have people, very carefully, take those pieces of charred remnants put them in a plastic bag, seal the bag and put it in the trash.”