Residents of Southern California recently experienced what the press dubbed “officially the worst gas leak in history,” but not an honest tale of how this is affecting residents can be found – unless you dig much deeper than the mainstream media.

A well blowout at the Aliso Canyon underground storage facility owned by the Southern California Gas Co. emitted close to 100,000 metric tons of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, into Porter Ranch and the surrounding area early this year. Residents were evacuated from the site, but after returning home just a few months after the disaster following SoCalGas’s go-ahead, hazardous chemicals released in the spill, like benzene, are having their way with people’s health.

Now reports have come in of people suffering the same symptoms they suffered when the gas leak first began. They are experiencing nausea, dizziness, fatigue, headaches and nosebleeds, and many including children are experiencing a new ailment, irritated skin rashes across their bodies. Some of these have even shown up on Facebook feeds.

Neither SoCalGas, which owns the Aliso Canyon facility, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, nor any other government agency has provided a concrete explanation for these continued symptoms.

Shockingly, one of LA county’s medical officials has also told doctors not to perform lab tests to determine what might be causing this odd array of symptoms.

Despite this, preliminary testing from an independent lab in UCLA has found carcinogenic benzene in at least two Porter Ranch homes.

SoCalGas previously attempted to downplay and withhold information about just how much of this toxic chemical was released into the environment with the initial accident.

Methane (black outlined circles) and ethane (blue) leak rates from airborne measurements near Aliso Canyon. Red line is a fit to the airborne methane data, assuming an average leak rate from blowout to December 4. There was an exponential decrease from then until early January as the SoCal Gas company drained the reservoir. The leak rate leveled off, as a minimum pressure was maintained in the reservoir to serve Los Angeles customers. This leakage was maintained until February 13, when the well was sealed. Photo by Conley et al., Science (2016)
Methane (black outlined circles) and ethane (blue) leak rates from airborne measurements near Aliso Canyon. Red line is a fit to the airborne methane data, assuming an average leak rate from blowout to December 4. There was an exponential decrease from then until early January as the SoCal Gas company drained the reservoir. The leak rate leveled off, as a minimum pressure was maintained in the reservoir to serve Los Angeles customers. This leakage was maintained until February 13, when the well was sealed. Photo by Conley et al., Science (2016)

Symptoms for So Cal Residents are Back

More than 300 complaints have been registered with the Health Department since residents began moving back to their homes in So Cal. SoCalGas told these people it was safe to return to their homes, but extensive rashes and headaches seem to be widespread among residents.

From October to February, and prior to evacuations, the Department of Public Health received 700 health complaints.

Helen Ritenour, a Porter Ranch resident who left the area in December, said within two days of returning to their home, she and her family began feeling sick. She explained:

“The main symptoms are headaches, difficulty breathing, watery eyes, coughing and general fatigue. It feels like I’m in a thick fog of sorts that’s oppressive.”

Other residents have made similar complaints, many of them for their children.

Gabriel Khanlian, a resident who serves as the Chief Technology Officer for Save Porter Ranch, a group formed in 2014 to fight the massive, aging, and leaking facility before the blowout even happened, also said he and his family have suffered symptoms since moving home.

“My daughter Tatiana keeps getting large rashes, red welts and bumps all over her body. Her skin is dry and her behavior has changed significantly and she is very cranky. She has a loss of appetite and is sleeping a lot more,” he said. “My sons, Jayden and Mason, have been getting bloody noses, headaches, upset stomachs, burning eyes, runny nose, dry skin.”

Read: Environmental Toxins May be Causing Mass Cancer Wave

Avoid Performing any Toxicological Tests

Though the reported symptoms are pronounced, neither SoCalGas nor the Department of Public Health has offered a definitive explanation of what is causing them. In fact, Dr. Cyrus Rangan, Director of the Bureau of Toxicology and Environmental Assessment at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, recently issued a:

 “Health Update” to “primary care, urgent care, internal medicine, and emergency medicine providers” in the area cautioning them against conducting tests on patients with symptoms. Why?

The advisory, dated Tuesday, March 8, requested healthcare professionals:

“look for alternate etiologies other than air contamination,” and “avoid performing any toxicological tests,” claiming “these are not recommended and are unlikely to provide useful data for clinical evaluation of patients.”

Neither SoCalGas nor the regulatory South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCQAMD) has offered an explanation to Anti-Media regarding elevations in methane emissions since the gas leak was sealed. The company keeps saying air quality has returned to normal.

SCAQMD cautions that levels of methane have been dropping since the methane gas leak was sealed in February, though 46 ppm is still 43 ppm above ‘normal.’

A catastrophe that is being called worse than the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 deserves serious medical testing for all affected residents, and compensation for having to leave their homes, jobs, and schools, only to return to a toxic mess due to the lies of SoCalGas. Like TEPCO during the Fukushima disaster, the company continues to downplay their responsibility to California’s residents, and to diminish the fact that other wells throughout the state could undergo similar disasters.

The fact that SoCal’s health administrators are diminishing reported symptoms speaks of a greater issue plaguing our nation. Headlines like this bespeak what we as a nation face as a whole:

“A DEQ Air Quality Official Apparently Vacationed With An Attorney Representing Industry”

The case of the former Air Quality Administrator, Andrew Ginsburg, is just one example of how our city officials are bought by corporations who spew toxic chemicals into our environment with no regard. SoCalGas obviously got their slimy corporate paws on someone in the upper echelons of our government.

Like the Flint, Michigan water crisis, thought, it will all come out in the wash – the truth floats on the wind – even when it has been contaminated with cancer-causing agents.

Sources:

Activist Post

Anti-Media


Storable Food


About Christina Sarich:
Author Image
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.