Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Nancy Kaufman
Observer Staff Writer 

Aliso Canyon Gas Storage Elevates Levels of Toxins Among Valley Residents

Study: high levels of uranium, lithium and styrene benzene were present in residents

 

October 16, 2017

Dr. Nordella concluded that need for an independent long-term health study from toxin exposures of SS-25 well blow out.

Doctor Jeffrey Nordella shared the results of his toxic health study to a packed audience of North Valley residents in the Woodland Hills Hilton last Saturday, Oct. 14th

The meeting was hosted by the local 501(c)(3) non profit group, Save Porter Ranch, and the environmental organization, Food and Water Watch.

It is apparent that the doctor really cares about the people and the science. Months ago, at a press conference, he said,

"I will not deviate from the people. We all know about the potential politics here. I want to make sure that this is neutral, clean, and it's done properly,"

The study revealed that high levels of uranium, lithium and styrene benzene were present in the urine and hair samples of residents who lived near the site of the largest methane blow out in American history.

The doctor began his study shortly after the Aliso Canyon gas storage field's massive methane leak was plugged up, in Feb 2016.

Aliso Canyon gas storage field is the largest gas storage field in the western United States. Three months after the historical leak of one of its wells, Standard Sesnon 25 (SS-25), it was sealed.

Nearly two years later, July 29th, 2017, state regulatory agency, Department of Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR), approved SoCalGas to re -open the gas storage field. When the gas injection resumed weeks later, one third of the 39 wells were taken out due to pressure build up.

SoCalGas, in a sworn testimony, Aug. 2016, reported, "there are two leaks per day, on average at the Aliso Canyon storage facility."

The gas storage field sits atop the Santa Susana Fault Line, potentially active with a capacity for a 7.3 earthquake within the next 50 years. According to a former petroleum engineer, James Mansdorfer, who managed SoCal Gas' storage wells, the movement along the fault would result "in release of gas at a rate of 100 to 1,000 times the rate of the (2015) leak."

According to the LA Country Department of Public Health, 63% of residents reported health symptoms after the blowout was capped.

Save Porter Ranch has been pushing for the shut down of the SoCal Gas storage field. The local activists are not the only ones who want too shut it down. Dr. Nordella, in the conclusion of his study, called to "shut it down

Nordella's reasons for concluding the gas storage field needs to be shut down are apparent in his study.

Dr. Nordella's study followed many of the residents of Porter Ranch after the methane blow out who complained of such symptoms as headaches and nosebleeds.

According to Scientific America,

"Symptoms of methane exposure include headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, weakness and loss of coordination, according to the National Institutes of Health"

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/5-facts-to-know-about-the-california-methane-leak/

Nordella introduced the findings of his studies to the crowd of focused listeners, by explaining the ways for the toxins to enter the system: through inhalation, absorption of skin, and ingesting (of water).

He emphasized the need for a clinical evaluation of the toxins in the body, by citing LACDPH (Los Angles County Department of Pubic Health):

"There are no recommended toxicological tests of blood, urine or other tissues for the clinical evaluation of patients exposed to the gas leak."

The doctor told his audience that he selected labs outside of California "to remove any bias or political influence." He chose Great Plains Lab(GPL) in Kansas City.

The associate lab director, Mathew Pratt-Hyatt PHD in cellular biology has expert credentials.

According to a GPL testimonial that Nordella shared, "the anomalies found of certain chemicals found in the samples were significant. This group was uniquely different than other similar testing we have done...therefore, we strongly suggest further investigation into these findings."

In the urine samples, Nordella found evidence of styrene and ethylbenzene present in the urine. Styrene is a derivative of benzene, and a known carcinogen, especially in the case of eye contact, skin contact, ingestion and inhalation. Chronic exposure of the toxin leads to tiredness/lethargy, memory deficits, headaches and vertigo.

Aliso Canyon has a history of ethylbenzene release. When the blowout was active in January 2016, patients had a positive blood test for benzene.

According to Nordella, the hair analysis screening revealed uranium present in 93 % and lithium in 60.05% in the 100 or so patients he has tested in his study.

SS-25 gas well blowout exposed the community to toxins of unprecedented quantity, duration and combination, Nordella concluded. Many people became ill and continue to suffer today. "Toxicology reports a statistically significant difference in regards to the levels of styrene, ethylbenzene, uranium and lithium," Nordella said.

According to the study, positive toxicology within hair samples at various lengths supports long-term-exposure.

According to Nordella, the hair analysis screening revealed uranium present in 93 % and lithium in 60.05% in the 100 or so patients he has tested in his study.

In 26 homes, lithium was detected in LADWP water supply. Conversely, non-LADWP water reported non-detectible levels of lithium. Nordella said, "We do not know the source or the duration or presence, of the lithium in the LADWP drinking water. We clearly do not know the health impact of the lithium at this time and needs further investigation."

Dr. Nordella concluded that need for an independent long-term health study from toxin exposures of SS-25 well blow out. He said, "otherwise it is scientifically irresponsible to ignore the facts and allow the continued operation of Aliso Canyon gas storage field."

A local Porter Ranch resident, who attended the meeting as a volunteer for Save Porter Ranch, Patty Gluek said, "Aliso Canyon must be shut down because I know people who have suffered here. I have chronic bronchitis and I know it's a result of the methane blow out because it started in July 201 and when I'm out of town I feel better."

 

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