Porter Ranch Residents Take Matters In Their Own Hands, Conduct Independent Testing

PORTER RANCH (CBSLA.com) – Several Porter Ranch residents who live near the Aliso Canyon gas facility, the location of the largest single methane leak in U.S. history, still believe their health is in danger and have begun to pay for their own independent laboratory testing for toxins.

Aliso Canyon was the site of a historic methane leak that began in October 2015 and was not capped until February 2016. It emitted 109,000 metric tons of methane and displaced at least 7,000 Porter Ranch area residents for months. It also led to mass complaints of health issues ranging from headaches to cancer.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health conducted air and dust inside more than 100 homes around Aliso Canyon, but found nothing that could explain any long-term health effects from the leak.

However, Dr. Jeffrey Nordella, Medical Director at Porter Ranch Quality Care clinic, is seeing several patients with symptoms that he says cannot be easily explained. He has proposed testing the people themselves rather than the homes and has decided to make these tests available to his patients.

“Anything I can do to figure it all out, I want to know,” resident Lauren Seymour and a patient of Nordella’s told CBS2 Monday.

Seymour wants to know why she and her family have been suffering from many different symptoms.

“I personally have had rashes, headaches, nosebleeds, different things like that,” Seymour said. “My sister’s had horrible welt rashes all over her body. My mom had chemical burning down her throat, and of course headaches, everybody had headaches.”

Seymour stopped by the clinic Monday to buy two test kits. One requires a urine sample to test for volatile organic compounds such as benzene. The other test kit uses strands of her hair to test for metals, including lead. The two tests costs about $200 and take about two weeks to process.

She says her family began feeling sick a few weeks before the massive leak was reported. Seymour says that while her parents and sister moved to Idaho to get away from the leak, she stayed behind.

She hopes these tests will help solve the mystery of what happened to her family.

“I hope that they find something,” Seymour said. “I want them to find something so that I have answers. I don’t want to keep getting these symptoms and not know what’s going on.”

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