California officials unravel the “stench of death” mystery

Residents of Carson, California, have had to endure weeks of an ugly stench emanating from the Dominguez Channel. The smell, described by locals as resembling rotten eggs, was first reported on October 3rd. Now, officials say the stench was caused by debris from a beauty and wellness product store that caught fire and spilled chemicals into a canal.

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The task of determining the cause of the “death stench” was left to the South Coast Air Quality Management District. The agency said Friday that the warehouse fire on Sept. 30 and the subsequent chemical spill were at the heart of the case. The chemicals killed plants and other organisms in and around the canal and produced hydrogen sulfide. This colorless gas is flammable and harmful to human health.

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Since the stench began, residents of Carson have reported various symptoms. Many have complained of headaches, fatigue and respiratory problems. Some have had more severe symptoms, such as constant nosebleeds that require hospitalization.

The air quality was poor enough to force evacuations. At one point, the levels of hydrogen sulfide reached 7,000 parts per hectare. billion, over 230 times recommended levels. To alleviate the situation, the county moved about 3,000 people to hotels. An additional 27,000 air purifiers were given to the residents to reduce the odor. Despite these efforts, residents say the smell continues.

A resident told The Guardian that after returning to her home from the hotel, she began to experience symptoms again. “Over-the-counter medicine does not help,” said Carson resident Ana Meni. ‘The only relief I have is getting out of town. The moment I do that, the headache goes away, ”Meni said.

Since the stench began, the county has spent over $ 54 million on offering alternative accommodation, cleaning the canal and cleaning the air. If problems continue until March, costs could rise to over $ 143 million, according to officials. The county has already issued a notice of infringement to the companies behind the pollution, although no action has yet been taken.

Via The Guardian

Lead image via Laurie Avocado

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