MDCH Determines No Long Term Health Impact From August 2005 EQ Resource Recovery Fire In Romulus

Contact: T.J. Bucholz (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

March 30, 2006

The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) has determined that while an August 2005 explosion fire at a Romulus facility presented an immediate physical public health hazard, there is no long-term health impact from possible chemical contamination.

State and federal health agencies examined the concentrations of chemicals detected in the air, soot, and debris, and tested for chemicals in solvents and soot and for metals in and around the EQ Resource Recovery facility in Romulus. There was no apparent short-term or long-term public health hazard found, according to Christina Rose Bush, MDCH toxicologist.

MDCH and the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry assisted U.S. EPA and the Wayne County Health Department with determining the level of threat to public health posed by the soot and fallout from the fire.

On the night of August 9, 2005, a hazardous waste tank at the plant – which stores, treats, and recycles chemical wastes and solvents – exploded and burned, causing additional fires in other tanks after the initial explosion, Bush said. Local officials ordered an evacuation of the surrounding area. Fire personnel allowed the majority of the fire to burn itself out. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency assisted with response activities and measured area contamination.

The Public Health Consultation is available to the public at the Romulus Public Library Located at 11121 Wayne Road, Romulus and at the Wayne Public Library, 3737 S. Wayne Road, Wayne. The consultation is also available on the MDCH website at www.michigan.gov/mdch-toxics, under “Health Assessments and Related Documents.” For further information, contact Bush at bushcr@michigan.gov or 1-800-648-6942.

The Michigan Department of Community Health Division of Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology conducted the Public Health Consultation for the EQ Resource Recovery fire under a cooperative agreement with the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Information concerning the human health effects of exposure to environmental contaminants can be found on the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) web page at http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaq.html.