Sunday, December 20, 2015

another year of hydrogen sulfide over exposures

Hydrogen Sulfide can cause genetic damage, plus serious and permanent central nervous system damage. [1].
St Bernard Parish residents have been frequently if not consistently exposed to more hydrogen sulfide than the daily exposure level recommended by the EPA. Hydrogen sulfide is a gas which causes deleterious effects at chronic low level exposures of 0.0014 ppm (1.4 ppb).  
The Valero Energy Meraux community monitor frequently measures hydrogen sulfide levels in our neighborhoods above 2, 3, and even 4 or 5 ppb!!  Valero records H2S readings in ppm; as an example, 0.003 ppm H2S is 3 ppb.  Chronic (or daily) exposure to H2S at levels of 0.0014 ppm or higher are unacceptable.  The Louisiana DEQ community monitors also frequently measure such levels of hydrogen sulfide, but records the H2S readings in ppb.
Children are among the most susceptible to this poison gas. It is unacceptable for communities near oil refineries and many others to have to continue suffering the ill effects of H2S when the technology to control H2S emissions is available and affordable.

“The daily inhalation exposure to the human population that is likely to be without an appreciable risk of deleterious effects during a lifetime, the RfC, has been determined to be 0.002 mg/m3 or 1.4 ppb.”

Health effects from chronic low level exposure include the burning and tearing of eyes, cough, shortness of breath, and for asthmatics, difficulty breathing.  The effects may be delayed for several hours, or sometimes several days, when exposed to low level concentrations. Chronic exposure causes eye inflammation, headache, fatigue, irritability, insomnia, digestive disturbances and weight loss. Researchers found the following demonstrable symptoms resulting from chronic exposure to H2S:  changes in brain density, abnormal neurobehavioral function, headache, altered mood states such as depression, fatigue, and tension, memory loss, pronounced deficits in balance and reaction time, dizziness, insomnia, overpowering fatigue, and reduced sense of smell.

  EPA should address adverse H2S impacts based on evidence of harmful exposures in numerous communities and its toxicological effects at low concentrations such as non-cancer effects and emerging evidence that H2S is a genotoxic agent, meaning it damages DNA


Link to monitors in St Bernard Parish

Ventura Drive (Valero Energy)


“Since the respiratory tract is the major target organ of hydrogen sulfide toxicity, humans with asthma, and the elderly and young children with compromised respiratory function represent sensitive subpopulations. Due to the serious toxic effects associated with exposure to high concentrations of hydrogen sulfide for very short durations, all exposure should be avoided.” 
 Health effects from chronic low-level exposure to hydrogen sulfide

Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and sour gas effects on the eye

Friday, December 18, 2015

fenceline monitoring

"If we’re going to give industry permits to release these emissions, then our goal is to have all of their emissions monitored. Whatever they’re permitted to release, we want it to be monitored, that’s our goal. I’m excited and optimistic about the new ruling. But this is not over by any means.” ------    Statement from Martha Huckabay, Vice President of St. Rose Community One Voice, regarding the EPA's new Refinery Rule

EPA's new Refinery Rule requires "fenceline monitoring" for some but not all emissions.  Benzene, a known carcinogen, will be monitored "at the fenceline" but where is the fenceline?

Let's keep the refinery fenceline where it has been for decades ---  way on the other side of the makeshift parking lot, and not in our residential neighborhoods.  When benzene levels measure an "actionable" level then the plants will be required to invest in technology controls to reduce benzene emissions. Allowing the fenceline to move away from the fenceline and into our neighborhoods could allow the plants to record lower benzene levels than actually emitted.

We have enough issues with the makeshift parking lot and fenceline; let's not add more benzene when new refinery rules were require less

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