A Porter Ranch, CA, physician says a pattern of health symptoms has emerged among the almost 50 patients he’s followed since last year’s Aliso Canyon natural gas leak, according to a recent article in the Los Angeles Daily News.
Dr. Jeffrey Nordella said he’s seeing abnormal pulmonary functions among some of those patients, and low red blood cell counts in others. “He’s reviewed the files of residents whose family members died and said he’s seen a rare case of anemia that can be connected to toxic exposure,” the article states.
“This whole study is just scratching the surface, but I want to use this as a foundation to say let’s all stop,” he told the Daily News. “Let’s get these high-level professionals in here that are not biased.”
“Nordella’s plea for collaboration comes at a time when state regulators are preparing to say whether the Aliso Canyon gas field that spewed the largest methane leak in the nation may be safe enough to refill with natural gas,” the article states. “Just a few days ago, hundreds of angry residents packed back-to-back public hearings in Woodland Hills to call for putting a halt to immediately reopening the Southern California Gas. Co facility. They say they first want to know the cause of the four-month leak. They also would like to shut down the 3,600-acre gas field just north of Porter Ranch forever.”
Nordella said he believes it’s also important to understand the health impacts the leak had on residents before natural gas is allowed to be injected back in those wells. “Different patients were exposed to different levels for different times, he said, and it won’t be clear how people are affected unless researchers follow them for at least three to five years,” the Daily News wrote.
“More than a year after a massive natural gas leak above Porter Ranch sickened thousands of people, forcing them to temporarily leave their homes in the northwestern San Fernando Valley, no deep health study has been started to answer their lingering questions. Since the 100,000 metric tons of methane that spewed from one of 115 aged wells is unprecedented, no one can point to past studies or research on the health effects of such an exposure,” the article states.
Nordella told the Daily News that a flood of patients with sore throats, congestion, headaches and rashes were turning up at his Porter Ranch urgent care facility in October of 2015, and he couldn’t quite understand what was happening. “There was no widespread announcement that a massive natural gas leak had been occurring in nearby Aliso Canyon and no immediate countywide instructions for physicians in the San Fernando Valley on what they should be doing,” the article stated.
“But as news began to spread that a ruptured well was releasing thousands of metric tons of methane into the air, more than 8,000 families relocated and two elementary schools were shut down and thousands of residents complained of nosebleeds, nausea and headaches,” according to the article.
To read the Los Angeles Daily News article, click here.
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