UCCE Sonoma County
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Good afternoon, the UC Cooperative Extension office is diligently adding more and more resources to address the needs of our community post fire, http://cesonoma.ucanr.edu/, In addition, we have research the topic of food safety especially related to smoke, ash and chemical exposures. Below is the UCCE statement that we have developed with guidance from food safety experts at the University of California. I also have attached articles on wildland fire ash composition, health impacts of wildfires and effects of wildfire suppression chemicals, along with the direct link to a USDA fires and food safety page, https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/emergency-preparedness/fires-and-food-safety/ct_index. Per UC Cooperative Extension, Sonoma County: Air quality in Sonoma County has been significantly impacted by the ongoing fires in the region. Local farms have played a very large and important role in food relief efforts immediately following the start of the fires and the mass evacuations. Many farmers and others in the community are concerned about how the air pollution might be impacting produce. While the University of California does not have data on the levels of these chemicals in produce that have been in contact with smoke and ash, we understand the need to share information with our community at this time. When assessing the safety of exposed produce, the difficulty is knowing what has been burning. If it is just vegetation smoke then it’s probably safe to eat produce after rinsing down the ash (just the same as having a bonfire in your garden), although it might still taste/smell smoky. If the air pollution has particulate matter from treated timber, tires, non-food grade oils, or anything plastic or chlorinated that burned it may include a mixture of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), dioxins, and metals. Exposure to fire retardant may also occur. A UC Berkeley Risk Assessment paper, 2016, conducted a literature review on the health impacts of PAHs from traffic-related air pollution on lettuce grown in urban agriculture found that: • Some PAHs can be absorbed into plant tissue, and so cannot be simply washed off. • The health risk from eating these PAHs is a small proportion of the health impact from breathing them, and it is far below the EPA’s level of concern for lifetime cancer risk. • It is possible that the health benefit of eating the vitamins and nutrients in green leafy vegetables might outweigh that negligible negative impact. • There is not enough research available on the cumulative impacts of air pollution on produce to make any solid conclusions about the health impacts. Please contact me if you have any questions or need additional information. Thank you and stay safe, Stephanie

Posted 1 day ago
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We are seeking to connect land owners who have available pasture for ranchers whose land was affected due to the fires. If you have available land and can help out please contact our office at 707-565-2621 or email slarson@ucanr.edu.

Posted 3 days ago
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Survivors re: ash removal and clean-up. Please read and share. The County of Sonoma is offering 2 community meetings TODAY! 1pm at (city of) Sonoma Vets Bldg, 6pm in Santa Rosa Santa Rosa High School.

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University of California Cooperative Extension, Sonoma County
133 Aviation Blvd Suite 109, Santa Rosa, CA 95403  Phone: 707.565.2621  Fax: 707.565.2623
Office Hours:  M-F, 8am-Noon & 1pm-4pm

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