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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Sediment Samples in New Orleans Are Out

The EPA has put up its latest sample data from sediment collections and it's worrisome to say the least. They readily admit there's some bacteria and a few metals, but again their tests have a couple of glaring omissions. Namely Benzene and Toluene.


Benzene and Toluene are prevalent in petroleum products like oil and gas. Yet neither can be found in the test results. About a week ago the EPA said it couldn't find Toluene and Benzene in the water because petroleum products were so dense in the water and lots had sunk into the sediment. Yet, they are not finding it in the sediment either?

We all know there is a lot of petroleum products in that water and sediment - the EPA has admitted as much. But to acknowlege the existance of it without finding Toluene and Benzene is like testing water and not finding hydrogen or oxygen.

But don't take our word for it, find out more right here:

Most studies have been done on benzene which is the only proven carcinogen. Benzene is suspected to be link to leukemia which is a disease of the blood making system in our bones. Strong evidence between long term exposure to benzene and leukemia have been found. Upon exposure to benzene, the benzene will move into the blood stream. From the blood stream it can get into fatty tissues where it can undergo reactions that produce phenol, which is an even more serious carcinogen than benzene.

The inhalation of toluene and xylenes in concentrations of 0.4 mg/l causes headache, dizziness and irritation of the mucous membranes. In higher concentrations toluene and xylenes can led to a reduced ability of co-ordination. Long term exposure of toluene and xylenes have been proven to cause brain damage, but neither of them are carcinogens.
One way that these can enter the body is not only from direct exposure to the water or sediment, but also through vapors (that "putrid smell" everyone talks about down there). This is why respirators must be given out. Further, when the sediment dries and becomes dust, it can spread these contaminants as it is agitated by the wind, sweeping, etc.

We're not going to say the EPA is lying, because we can't prove they are knowingly covering something up, yet, but we can say with certainty that their tests are flawed and/or incomplete and no media should base any story on this data and no decisions by government should be based on it.

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  • We are a group of former Congressional staff, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) staff, and environmental group staff tracking and analyzing the news, in real time, from New Orleans from an environmental health perspective.

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