Monday, March 28, 2011

Compressor station sickens residents

There's an article appearing in today's online Denton Record-Chronicle (Texas).  While the story takes place in TX, the repercussions in PA are pretty self-evident.  If you or your loved ones live near a compressor station, take note.  I remain confounded why PA lawmakers--and even many residents--hear about things like this and are willing to disregard it.  Even the Mayor of Dish, TX has resigned and moved his family away!

Atmosphere of concern:  
Residents of Dish feel change in air
By Elizabeth Smith / For the Denton Record-Chronicle

"...Each day, Dish officials estimate, about 1 billion cubic feet of gas travels through three metering stations, more than 20 major gas gathering pipelines and 11 compression plants that have been shoehorned into the town’s two square miles by energy companies.

The Sheffields are among many residents who have lodged complaints with local, state and federal officials about the noise and odors coming from facilities so loosely regulated that toxic emissions, whether the release is intentional or accidental, go unreported and uncounted.

When the wind blows from the compressor stations to the southeast and emissions are high — leaving a strangely sweet odor hanging in the air — those are the days Rebekah Sheffield and her family feel the worst. Her husband, Warren, frequently checks the readings of a new state air ambient monitor online. When the wind is blowing from the southeast, he often finds that the ambient air levels of the 46 toxic compounds being monitored are higher than normal.

“We know that we just can’t stay — for our health,” Warren Sheffield says. “Every day here we feel worse. Every day we’re a little bit sicker. We’re going to have to do something.”

But with their house in disrepair and the prospect of finding a buyer unlikely, the Sheffields say they feel trapped.

Rebekah and Warren Sheffield moved to Dish in 1996 after buying a century-old farmhouse. The couple says they dreamed of restoring it by hand and raising their children. It was a place where she could breathe in the fresh air — until the gas wells were drilled across the street.

Rebekah Sheffield first noticed changes in her body the following year when she reacted to fragrances, particularly perfumes and detergents, she says. A whiff of someone’s perfume sent her stumbling to the floor. She fainted at ballgames, in the grocery store, even while sitting in the pew at church.

Her physician, Dr. Tod Heldridge, prescribed a battery of allergy medications, though they did little to lessen her symptoms. When her condition worsened in 2003, she consulted a neurologist, but tests found no brain lesions or tumors. In 2004, she sought out an allergist, but no combination of pills or nasal sprays substantially quelled her symptoms. The next year, she saw another specialist to treat her constant state of vertigo, but tests were inconclusive. Rebekah Sheffield’s instability was very real to her husband, who grew frustrated that he could not catch his wife when she fell. Finally, in her early 30s, she purchased a wheelchair.

Rebekah Sheffield learned the hard way that soaps and detergents will give her chemical burns up to her elbows. In place of shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream and deodorant, she must create her own toiletries using a combination of natural products including cornstarch, baking soda, lemon juice and sugar.

Unable to determine either the specific cause or an effective treatment for her condition, Heldridge diagnosed her with multiple chemical sensitivity. The medical community does not accept the diagnosis as a legitimate medical condition, with debate both over its existence and if symptoms are triggered from exposure to chemicals...."

To read the remainder of the article in its entirety, click HERE.

1 comment:

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