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Expert Commentary: Pollution from Refinery Blasts and Fire Could Irritate Asthma, COPD Sufferers

Published on June 24, 2019

Julie BeckerJulie Becker PhD, MPH, associate professor of health policy, warned that an explosion at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery on Friday, June 21, 2019 could be dangerous for those in the area at risk, including children, the elderly, and anyone with a respiratory condition. Dr. Becker was interviewed by 6abc about the risks:

"Whenever you see a large black plume, it means there is something that's not burned, and there is pollution going up," says Becker.

That incomplete burning produces a lot of particles that travel with the wind.

"These particles can spread quite a distance. It depends on what's in them," she says.

Dr. Becker urged those in the Delaware Valley to look out for symptoms such as tightness of chest, difficulty breathing, coughing, and a low-grade tickle in the back of the throat.

See more of Dr. Becker's interview at

Categories: News, Faculty, Misher College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Health Policy, Health Policy, Health Tips