Two years after the largest methane blowout in U.S. history, residents in the Porter Ranch neighborhood of Los Angeles are still in the dark about the long-term effects on their health. There is no comprehensive health study in sight, and people in the community fear that their concerns will go unheard.
When well SS-25 at the Aliso Canyon gas storage facility sprung a leak back on October 23rd, 2015 it released almost 100,000 metric tons over the course of four months (that’s equivalent to 7.8 million metric tons of C02 - or emissions from almost 2 million cars) . Along with methane, many other toxins, such as benzene, were released and have been found in the homes of residents in Porter Ranch. State and local agencies stated that levels of toxins residents were exposed to, “are not expected to cause a significant increase in overall risk of health effects from either short-term or long-term exposure”, however few agencies are willing to state conclusively that there are no long-term health risks.
According to scientists like UCLA professor Michael Jarrett, this is because there is not enough scientific evidence to prove this. He said that it is important to conduct a comprehensive study to determine if residents are still getting sick from the blowout. And while the company responsible for the blowout, SoCalGas, agreed to fund $1million for a health study it fell short of the $13 to 46 million that experts, politicians, and county health officials think a proper study would cost.
A local health practitioner, Dr. Nordella,who became alarmed at the amount of complaints his patients were reporting to him decided to test residents himself for toxic exposures. His results have left many in the community alarmed.