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Impacted by the Chemtool fire? Winnebago Co. Health Department launches Health Impacts Survey

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — The Winnebago County Health Department launched a Health Impacts Survey to study the impact on the community after the Chemtool fire earlier this month.

The health department wants to hear from anyone who feels they were impacted by the fire which could include first responders, residents in the evacuation zone, or people who lived underneath the smoke plume.

To date, the health department has responded to more than 150 inquiries to the hotline.

The health department wants to know how you were impacted, what you came into contacted with (ash, debris, air, or water), and any mental or physical symptoms you experienced.

If you lived in a "designated impact zip code" and registered for the COVID-19 vaccine, the health department will send you the survey to the email you registered for the vaccine with.

The survey is completely voluntary and individual responses will be kept confidential.

The Winnebago County Health Department pushed out the survey this week ahead of a visit next week from the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. IDPH and the CDC will be in neighborhoods surrounding Chemtool to collect additional health data from residents.

The survey takes around 15 minutes to complete. To take the survey, click here or call the Winnebago County Health Department at 815-972-7300 to take the survey over the phone.

The first round of the survey closes on July 15.

Environmental Update

While the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is in charge of the environmental response, Dr. Sandra Martell, the Public Health Administrator at the Winnebago County Health Department, answered a few questions about the environmental impact at Thursday's press conference.

Air, land, and water testing results are available on the EPA's website, but have remained stable.

Air quality results are "fairly stable" with levels consistently below federal standards. Dr. Martell said sustained levels of elevation would be concerning, but tests haven't showed that.

The Rock River is still closed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to support response efforts in the area. Crews are still cleaning and removing debris around the site.

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Jena Kleindl

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