North Carolina Division of Air Quality

Air Monitoring Information to Aid in the Assessment of Potential Human Health Risk from an Ongoing Landfill Fire

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Courtesy of North Carolina Division of Air Quality

 Abstract

The North Carolina Division of Air Quality (DAQ) was asked by the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Section (OEES) of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to provide air monitoring information to aid in the assessment of potential human health risk from an ongoing landfill fire in Dare County. The Air Toxics Analytical Support Team (ATAST) arrived on site the evening of December 30, 1998. Air monitoring was conducted that evening and the following day for carbon monoxide, organic vapors and several toxic gases. Samples were collected at the source of the fire, on the perimeter of the landfill and in potentially impacted residential areas. Tests on the landfill fire smoke confirmed high levels of carbon monoxide and organic vapors. However, these constituents were not detected at significantly elevated levels at off-site or residential locations. Chemical characterization using gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy methods identified several typical combustion byproducts at sub-part per million levels. Monitoring results were negative for toxic agents such as phosgene, mercury vapor, and acid and basic gases.

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