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WWLTV: More chemicals reported in Chalmette Refinery flare

CHALMETTE, La. — An environmental watchdog group says St. Bernard Parish residents were exposed to more chemicals than initially reported by the Chalmette Refinery after the release of a powdery substance on Labor Day.

The Louisiana Bucket Brigade says the Chalmette Refinery didn’t talk about the chemicals after it reported the release of 2,000 pounds of spent catalyst in the form of this thick powder.

The brigade said Tuesday the chemicals cause breathing difficulty and a burning of the nose and throat in children.

“There was a ton of sulfur dioxide released that certainly is a problem,” said Anne Rolfes, a member of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. “The good news is that it was while people were sleeping. The bad news is that Exxon-Mobil, they got a real transparency problem. They feel the need to brush everything under the rug.”

“It’s a big concern because I have kids and they were outside as I was cleaning, but this morning the adjuster came. He didn’t say anything about that,” said Chalmette resident Tommy Gallegos.

A representative for the refinery said in a statement, “At the expected levels of exposure, this powder, including any associated by-products from the refining process, are not considered harmful to people, animals, or plants.”

Chalmette Refining has set up a toll free number for residents who believe they are impacted by this event. That number is 877-657-2833.