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EPA Continues to Release Air Data from New Orleans and Mississippi

Release Date: 12/02/2005
Contact Information:

Contact: Eryn Witcher, 202-564-4355/

(12/2/05) On Nov. 29, EPA posted another set of air quality data for hurricane-impacted areas in both Mississippi and New Orleans. The samples taken in New Orleans on Oct. 5 tested for fine particles (2.5) and samples taken in Mississippi between Oct. 26 and Nov. 2 tested for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and volatile organic compounds. The Mississippi samples showed that concentrations of acrolein continue to fluctuate between concentrations above EPA's 1-year screening level and concentrations too low to be detected at three sites (Stennis Space Center, Maple Street in Gulfport, and Hospital Road in Pascagoula). Acrolein can enter the air when organic matter such as trees and other plants are burned and when fuels such as gasoline and oil are burned. Individuals exposed to acute concentrations of acrolein would likely experience only temporary minor irritation of the nose and throat. A new, improved method for sampling and analyzing air samples for acrolein was put into practice earlier this year. Since experience with this method is limited, these results are being reassessed for their validity and additional quality assurance work is underway. All other compounds measured were below EPA's health-based screening levels.

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