June 19, 2014 For Immediate Release
Contact: Anne Rolfes, Founding Director, Louisiana Bucket Brigade, (504) 452-4909
St. Rose 9:30 am
Home of Paula Taylor
419 4th Street. St. Rose
Baton Rouge Location
(St. Rose) Twelve days after chemical and gas fumes began making them sick, St. Rose residents are today going to the Governor’s Mansion to seek intervention for the ongoing health problems. “It is affecting neighbors, breathing, respiratory, eye problems, diarrhea; it's just in the house,” reported Sabrina Jordan via the iWitness Pollution Map. “The smell is in the house. All day we are being affected with the smell.”
International Matex Tank Terminals (IMTT) is the alleged source of the odor. St. Rose residents are requesting health assistance from nurses, doctors, physician’s assistants and any and all medical personnel throughout the state and the country. “The health impacts of this ongoing accident are being brushed under the rug,” said Anne Rolfes of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. “We are appealing to health professionals from around the state to come to St. Rose. We need medical missions to come to St. Charles Parish and help.” Residents are also calling on the governor to visit the Preston Hollow and Dianne Place neighborhoods.
The source of the chemical leaks is the tanks at IMTT. Tanks have long been poorly regulated in Louisiana. In 2001 the largest tank fire in U.S. history erupted in New Sarpy. In 2005 Murphy Oil spilled a million gallons of its oil during Katrina after it failed to follow its hurricane preparedness guidelines. And in the last year Denham Springs and West Baton Rouge have been rocked by explosions at tanks.
The most immediate concern in St. Rose is the health impacts to the nearest neighbors. The Louisiana Bucket Brigade deployed its Emergency Response Team last Friday. Of the 116 people surveyed, 97 (84%) reported health problems from the fumes, including headaches, nausea and difficulty breathing.
The Louisiana Bucket Brigade is an environmental health and justice organization supporting neighborhoods’ use of grassroots action to create informed, sustainable communities free from industrial pollution.