According to KRCR News, benzene was found in the drinking water and is believed this happened due to the plastics and other harmful materials drawn into the water system during the Camp Fire. 30 chemicals was tested for but the only one found was benzene.
Benzene was said to be present in cigarette smoke, car emission and was found to be carcinogenic in high concentrations, according to a 1994 publication in Environmental Health Perspectives.
The Paradise Irrigation District said benzene can cause anemia and a decrease in blood platelets. The district also said more testing would be required to determine the overall damage to the water system. Residents should use bottled water for all drinking, brushing teeth, making ice and food preparation, according to the district. Animals should be allowed to drink tap water as well.
Residents are also being asked to their use of hot water, according to KRCR News. They should also limit shower time, use lukewarm water in a ventilated area, wash clothing in cold water, do no take baths, do not use hot tubs or swimming pools and limit use of clean up properties.
According to KRCR News, boiling water will not make it safe to drink. The public is urged to report any unusual odor in the water supply to 530.342.3401. Updates on the Paradise water systems can be found at their website.