SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - It's been two months since a gas explosion rocked downtown Springfield.
The dust has settled but many people who were down there that day may be wondering about possible long-term health effects they need to be aware of.
The 22News I-Team investigated.
When an old building in an urban setting explodes, you'd expect to find lead or asbestos, we ran some tests on the explosion debris and found some toxic materials.
It's been two months since SCORES strip club in downtown Springfield exploded from a gas leak.
The explosion could be felt for miles and sent debris flying, damaging buildings blocks away.
Those who were in the blast zone when it happened, like Springfield Fire's Dennis Leger, are now left wondering what they breathed it that day and how it may effect them long-term.
"There could've been asbestos there could've been a lot of agents that are unknown," Leger said.
To get an idea of what people were breathing in that day, the 22News I-Team went down to the site days after the blast and gathered dust and debris samples to submit for testing.
Sterling Analytical Lab President, Madhu Shah, in West Springfield conducted the testing.
A few weeks later, our results were in.
While there were a number of metals found, Madhu Shah said the levels of chromium, lead and barium were high.
Three elements environmental experts say have been linked to different forms of cancer and learning disabilities.
"That one has a very high barium. 2,300 and that's considered a hazardous level," Shah said.
We brought our results to Rick Peltier, an environment health specialist at UMASS Amherst.
"Certainly, when the explosion occurred, there were very high levels," Peltier said.
Peltier says while there are high levels of metals that can be harmful to people, he doesn't think it will.
He said problems typically happen when people are constantly exposed over a long period of time, like 9/11.
"The explosion was a short duration event and once it was over, all that stuff that was in the air, was removed from the air, it settled to the surface of the ground," Peltier said.
Still, he says it's important everyone to know the risks and monitor their health.
Leger says all firefighters involved signed exposure forms to have on record if problems arise.
"When they're on the outside like that no one had a mask on for something like that so everyone filled out the form as a matter of policy," Leger said.
I also got in touch with Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.
They wouldn't comment on our test results but did say they run continuous air monitors in Springfield.
They detected fiberglass and asbestos in the air after the explosion, but below levels that would be a health concern.