Caustic ash left behind by wildfires

Dec 06, 2007

U.S. geologists say ash and debris from California wildfires is full of arsenic, lead and other caustic materials that pose a health and safety risk.

The U.S. Geological Survey scientists warn the toxic metals pollute streams and threaten wildlife, the Los Angeles Times said Wednesday.

Tests of some ash from recent wildfires found it was more caustic than ammonia and nearly as caustic as lye, while metals such as arsenic found in the ash would violate federal standards for cleaning up hazardous waste sites.

The scientists are calling for concentrated efforts to clear the ash and before winter rains arrive, the newspaper said. The geologists tested 28 samples from residential areas burned by the Grass Valley fire near Los Angeles and the Harris fire near the Mexico border.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Pact with devil? California farmers use oil firms' water

Related Stories

Research shows 'mulch fungus' causes turfgrass disease

4 hours ago

Inadvertently continuing a line of study they conducted about 15 years ago, a team of Penn State researchers recently discovered the causal agent for an emerging turfgrass disease affecting golf courses around ...

Study on pesticides in lab rat feed causes a stir

5 hours ago

French scientists published evidence Thursday of pesticide contamination of lab rat feed which they said discredited historic toxicity studies, though commentators questioned the analysis.

Experiments open window on landscape formation

6 hours ago

University of Oregon geologists have seen ridges and valleys form in real time and—even though the work was a fast-forwarded operation done in a laboratory setting—they now have an idea of how climate ...

To conduct, or to insulate? That is the question

6 hours ago

A new study has discovered mysterious behaviour of a material that acts like an insulator in certain measurements, but simultaneously acts like a conductor in others. In an insulator, electrons are largely stuck in one place, ...

Recommended for you

Gimmicks and technology: California learns to save water

Jul 03, 2015

Billboards and TV commercials, living room visits, guess-your-water-use booths, and awards for water stinginess—a wealthy swath of Orange County that once had one of the worst records for water conservation ...

Cities, regions call for 'robust' world climate pact

Jul 03, 2015

Thousands of cities, provinces and states from around the world urged national governments on Thursday to deliver a "robust, binding, equitable and universal" planet-saving climate pact in December.

Will climate change put mussels off the menu?

Jul 03, 2015

Climate change models predict that sea temperatures will rise significantly, including in the tropics. In these areas, rainfall is also predicted to increase, reducing the salt concentration of the surface ...

As nations dither, cities pick up climate slack

Jul 02, 2015

Their national governments hamstrung by domestic politics, stretched budgets and diplomatic inertia, many cities and provinces have taken a leading role—driven by necessity—in efforts to arrest galloping ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.