Health officials find metals in dust samples from Porter Ranch homes near gas leak

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The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health released a full report Friday on the air and dust samples taken from homes near the Aliso Canyon gas storage facility in Porter Ranch. (KABC)

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health will release a full report Friday on the air and dust samples taken from homes near the Aliso Canyon gas storage facility in Porter Ranch.

Thousands of residents have not returned to their homes despite the massive gas leak being capped. In October, a well leaked thousands of tons of gases daily until it was shut off in mid-February. Over the course of 16 weeks, an estimated 107,000 tons of methane flowed out of the well.

The estimated cost of the well blowout has doubled to more than $665 million, according to Sempra Energy, which owns Southern California Gas Co.

Residents were allowed to go back to their homes a few weeks after the flow stopped, but homeowners still complained of getting skin rashes, headaches and nosebleeds. Health officials tested air and dust samples in 111 homes near the leak.

"When we look at the dust samples, we found metals present that really shouldn't be there," said Jeffrey Gunzenhauser with the county health department. "They could, at certain levels, cause symptoms similar to those that were reported by people. We think they should be cleaned, and if the levels were higher they could pose a hazard to people."

But many residents said they don't feel safe moving back into their homes. Some said county officials should stay at their place for a month to experience what they're talking about.

Officials said residents may be forced to move back because of financial reasons because many have not been reimbursed by SoCalGas for hotel and rental costs.

The utility said a statement will be released in response to the county's findings.

Health officials suggest homeowners vacuum and clean all hard and soft surfaces of their home to clear out the dust and metal particles.

SoCalGas is still trying to determine the exact cause of the leak. The gas blowout has been considered the largest-known release of climate-changing methane in U.S. history, according to scientists.
Related Topics:
newsporter ranch gas leakgas leakenvironmenthealthgas fumesPorter RanchLos AngelesLos Angeles County
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