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New Study Determining if Ashes Are Still in People’s Homes

Fort McMurray, AB, Canada / MIX 103.7
New Study Determining if Ashes Are Still in People's Homes

Construction in Wood Buffalo, Spring 2017 // Harvard Broadcasting Reporter Jaryn Vecchio

Researchers at the University of Toronto want the dust in your home.

They’re looking to sample dust particles in 30-40 homes in different rebuild areas around Fort McMurray to determine whether or not ashes are still lingering.

Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto Arthur Chan tells Mix News they want to make sure there aren’t any long-term effects.

“People have been cleaning their homes but there are certain areas where they don’t clean as often like the attic or the top of the doors so we’re just looking for evidence.”

Chan notes all previous studies done have been looking at the short-term effects. He adds Alberta Health Services conducted many environmental tests before determining it was safe for residents to head back to Fort McMurray.

They’re looking for any signs of carcinogens that may still be lingering in people’s homes.

Once they gather the samples and conduct their tests, they will compare the results with Health Canada’s safety guidelines to determine if there are any risks.

“There has been a similar study done called the Canadian House Dust Study so they sample approximately 1,000 homes across Canada and so the levels we see which be compared against those as well.”

Chan says they hope the findings can be used to help protect more people from the dangers of ashes.

“Given that the climate is changing, we do expect more and more wildfires in the future, especially in Western Canada so this is a study that will provide us with the data of what kinds of chemicals would be produced from the fire.”

Their team will be in Fort McMurray in July as well as a few more times in 2017. They hope to have the results by the middle of 2018.

Anyone interested in getting their home tested can apply chem-eng.utoronto.ca.

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