Wreckage from Kentucky Tornadoes Could Pose Significant Hazards

by Samantha Whidden
two-babies-survive-kentucky-tornado-bathtub-ripped-home
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Days after the Kentucky tornadoes ripped through the state, it was reported that wreckage caused by the storms may actually pose significant hazards and can be damaging to human health.

According to Newsweek, Kentucky Governor, Andy Beshear, describes the debris left behind by the Kentucky tornadoes as a “mountain of waste.” Dr. Erin Hayes, who is the deputy director of the University of Kentucky Center for Appalachian Research in Environmental Sciences (CARES) explains the debris left behind actually contains a “mix of chemicals.” Particulates actually could be damaging to human health.

Hayes spoke to the media outlet about the hazards caused by the Kentucky tornadoes. “There may be a lot of dust [generating] during the cleanup. And those dust particles would be from the composition of the buildings. Which could contain lead if they’re old buildings. Asbestos and other hazardous substances.”

Hayes recommends that those working on the sites take great care and caution to protect themselves from potential airborne particulates. She then explains that exposure to asbestos and lead could cause long-term health issues. “Asbestos can go into the lungs and lead is a known neurotoxin. So we want to avoid exposure to those.”

Hayes goes on to add that lead and asbestos are two well-known hazards that are common in all buildings. “But there are known hazards in homes and buildings and manufacturing companies. All of those chemicals are now available for exposure.”

President Biden Visits Those Experiencing Loss Following the Kentucky Tornadoes 

On Wednesday (December 15), President Joe Biden visited those who are experiencing loss following the Kentucky tornadoes. According to NBC’s WLWT5, the elected official revealed his plans to visit the Bluegrass State on Monday during a briefing alongside Homeland Security. He participated in a briefing on the federal storm response as well. 

Kentucky Congressman James Comer is accompanying President Biden during his visit to Kentucky. He arrived at Fort Campbell just before 11 a.m. for the briefing. He then visited Mayfield, one of the cities severely impacted by the Kentucky Tornadoes.

“I was asked, ‘What is the most impressive thing you’ve seen?’ I started thinking [about the] damage. Then Is aid, ‘The way you all came together,” President Biden stated to the city’s officials. He then declared that the state of Kentucky will continue to receive support from the federal government. 

“Don’t hesitate to ask for anything,” he continued. “If we can’t do it, we’ll tell you we can’t. And we’ll tell you from experience you can maybe get it done.”

Nearly 75 people are among the dead while more than 100 people are missing following the Kentucky tornadoes. At least five tornadoes struck in the western portion of the state. Beshear adds he and his team are still finding bodies. “We have cadaver dos in places they should have to be in.”

Outsider.com