After Porter Ranch gas leak sealed, questions still exist

While the gas leak at Porter Ranch has finally been sealed there are still many questions left unanswered.

What are the dangers of methane exposure?

Sadly, there is not a lot of information available when it comes to the effects of methane exposure, especially long term. The National Center for Biotechnology Information stated that in 2013, a man was placed on mechanical ventilation after he was brought to an emergency department with trouble breathing. Apparently, four and a half hours earlier, he had inhaled methane gas at his job with a company that supplies medical gas. The exposure lasted only about a minute, but he was diagnosed with having severe respiratory distress. Considered the first official case concerning methane exposure, the man did recover after several days of intense medical treatment.

SteadyHealth, a wellness site, states that symptoms associated with methane exposure include the following:

  • Cognitive problems
  • Heart palpitations
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Additionally, people may suffer from dehydration or lose consciousness if they are not breathing in enough oxygen.

Is the gas company downplaying exposure?

The New York Times recently reported that Southern California Gas Company prevented a scientist from flying over the site to measure the amount of methane that was in the air. As people may remember, residents of Porter Ranch were not officially informed of the gas leak until five days after it was detected. When the scientist was permitted to fly over the site, it was two weeks after the company found the leak.

The scientist's investigation found that during the four months of the leak, the amount of methane that leaked into the air added up to over 97,000 metric tons. The earth's atmosphere normally contains a concentration of methane at a measurement of "two parts per million." However, the scientist found that the air above the Aliso Canyon leak measured at "50 parts per million."

What are the risks of cancer or other serious health problems?

Residents of Porter Ranch are reporting that they still suffer from the effects of the leak. According to U.S. News & World Report, there is suspicion that the methane gas has soaked into the soil, water and is still in the air around the community. While officials have stated that the risks of generating cancer is small, one resident's doctor is closely monitoring her limited lung function from the breathing problems caused by the exposure, citing that cancer is a concern.

Other residents are experiencing symptoms of gas exposure when they try to return home, indicating that the gas may still be present, especially in home systems. These residents are reporting problems with headaches, nausea, rashes and dizziness. Doctors and others say they can only speculate about what the long term effects on residents' health could be.

When people are the victims of company actions, they have the right to hold that company responsible. Therefore, they may want to sit down and talk about their situation with an experienced attorney at Frantz Law Group, APLC.

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