Chemist: Residents near sinkhole already reporting respiratory problems, headaches — Concern over impact of many chemicals in air at same time
Group asks residents to keep odor, health log
the Louisiana Environmental Action Network, a Baton Rouge environmental group, has asked Bayou Corne-area residents to log odors and any health symptoms that they feel as a result of the odors.
In two statements released Tuesday, LEAN noted air monitoring by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality since Aug. 4 over the sinkhole and in the neighborhoods near the sinkhole had picked up, depending on the location, benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, other volatile organic compounds and components of natural gas.
Benzene is a known carcinogen.
LEAN also said the levels of those chemicals are below Louisiana ambient air standards, which mark a threshold for health risks.
“To date, for the chemical analyses reviewed, the results are not at levels for possible health effects or no completed chemical exposure pathway to the general public has been identified,” said J.T. Lane, DHH Office of Public Health assistant secretary, in an emailed statement Wednesday.
LEAN group is concerned about the cumulative impact of all the chemicals in air together over time and developed the odor and symptom log as a way to track it, according to Wilma Subra, an environmental chemist who provides technical assistance to LEAN.
She said residents have already reported headaches and respiratory problems.
Texas Brine also announced it would start its own voluntary air monitoring of homes within five miles of the sinkhole site.
Texas Brine has hired Sage Environmental Services. Monitoring will be conducted twice a week with hand-held devices on public roads in front of each residence, Texas Brine officials said.