Chevron Refinery Fire

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Chevron Refinery Fire: Health Impact

Smoke from the Chevron refinery fire blanketed Richmond and surrounding communities Monday night. (Jeremy Brooks: Flickr

Smoke from the Chevron refinery fire blanketed Richmond and surrounding communities Monday night. (Jeremy Brooks: Flickr)

Since Monday’s fire erupted just after 6pm, more than 600 people have been treated in emergency departments at Kaiser in Richmond and Doctors Medical Center in nearby San Pablo for symptoms caused by the Chevron refinery fire.

One of them was Point Richmond resident Cheri Edwards. “The smoke was kind of like an oily smell, it was an oily smell, and I have asthma really bad. And right now I’m at the bus stop trying to go to Kaiser because I have been having respiratory problems.”

Besides breathing problems, people also reported symptoms including sore throats and watery eyes. These symptoms are consistent with exposure to “a full toxic soup of hundreds, probably thousands, of combustion products and byproducts,” Greg Karras, senior scientist with the advocacy group Communities for a Better Environment, told a Forum audience Tuesday morning. Continue reading