DEC, DOH release Lackawanna fire air quality test results

Posted at 5:20 PM, Nov 16, 2016

More test results are coming in regarding the air quality in Lackawanna during the Bethlehem Steel fire.  

Last week, we knew particulate matter (PM) concentrations were at hazardous levels in the area. Now, we're getting a breakdown of exactly what was in the air, homeowners were breathing.

During a webinar, the New York State Department of Health and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation provided a list of 45 volatile organic compounds (VOC). The most elevated levels were found just north of the fire along Madison Avenue, the day after the fire started.

Air monitors detected high levels of benzene, which can cause cancer.

The DEC and DOH say thanks to the shelter in place order and a subsequent evacuation, people around the area should only have had limited exposure to these high numbers.

The state says any health issues caused by the smoke should be minor, and the results they gathered are similar to air quality results of other fires.

Air quality has returned to normal.

The DEC and DOH will be holding a meeting with the surrounding neighborhoods to go over these numbers.