For Immediate Release
July 16, 2014
Katie Moore, Research Analyst Louisiana Bucket Brigade, (919) 384-5410
Keith Adams, St. Rose resident, (504) 469-9521
New reports indicate chemical odor continues to impact the health of St. Rose community
In early June the Louisiana Bucket Brigade received copious reports from St. Rose residents regarding a potent chemical odor and odor-induced health impacts. Over a month later, more than 60 reports to the iWitness Pollution Map - 29 from this week alone - indicate that the odor continues to impact the health and well-being of the St. Rose community.
"The smell is back," St. Rose resident Keith Adams reported on Tuesday. "It's really bad. It burns your eyes, your nose, and eventually your chest."
On June 13th in response to initial calls about the odor, the Bucket Brigade deployed its Emergency Response Team to talk to the St. Rose community and take health surveys. Over 80% of residents interviewed by the Bucket Brigade reported health effects from vomiting to diarrhea.
Since the deployment, 69 new odor reports document an intermittent but persistent chemical smell. Just this week, 29 reports to the map indicate that the smell has intensified and that residents are increasingly fed up.
"My stomach is upset," reported St. Rose resident James Murdoch on Tuesday. "I'm getting to the point that I can't take it."
The neighboring industrial facilities likely responsible for the odor - Shell and IMTT - released a joint statement on June 19th asserting that all ambient air tests "met EPA air quality standards." In addition, the spokesperson for the Department of Environmental Quality, Greg Langley, stated that "we have found no levels [of air pollution] that are harmful to human health."
As of June 20th, the DEQ believed they had pinpointed the source of the problem: a certain type of crude oil used in asphalt production leading to the release of high amounts of sulfurous compounds. According to the DEQ, this asphalt was loaded onto a barge for disposal, and the facility managers shut down the part of the plant responsible for the odor.
Despite these statements, the ongoing community reports make one thing perfectly clear: odors are a chronic problem in St. Rose, and a process is not in place to adequately protect the health and safety of St. Rose and surrounding communities.
As reports continue to come in, the Louisiana Bucket Brigade is working with residents to document health impacts and identify a path forward that protects the health and well-being of the community and that holds industry responsible for its pollution.
The Louisiana Bucket Brigade uses grassroots action to create an informed, healthy society with a culture that holds the petrochemical industry and government accountable for the true costs of pollution.