Jun 14, 2024

Air in Louisiana More Toxic Than Previously Thought

The presence of a dangerous chemical in the air of southeast Louisiana, is far greater than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimated and exceeds safe limits, a study published Tuesday found. The levels of ethylene oxide, exposure to which can cause lung, breast, or other cancers, are nine times higher Ethylene oxide levels than the EPA estimated, the study, which was published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. The new study found that the gas' presence averaged about 31 ppt and was far higher in certain locations within the industrial corridor, which runs alongside the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge to New Orleans. In each of the census tracts the researchers studied, the level of the gas was higher than the EPA had estimated for that area, in most cases significantly, with a median discrepancy of about 21 ppt. "We expected to see ethylene oxide in this area," Peter DeCarlo, an associate professor at Johns Hopkins University and an author of the study, told The Guardian, noting that it was "worrisome,"
"But we didn't expect the levels that we saw, and they certainly were much, much higher than EPA's estimated levels."