HEALTH ISSUES-AIR/WATERWhy the need for careful water analysis? With special thanks to Angel, the following is most troubling:
Subject: TOXINS IN BLOOD SAMPLE FROM DISHhttp://www.dentonrc.com/sharedcontent/dws/drc/localnews/stories/DRC...
Same substances detected in air,
07:07 AM CDT on Tuesday, April 13, 2010
By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe / Staff Writer
DISH — Tests on blood and urine samples taken from residents by state health
officials in January have found the same toxic compounds in people’s bodies
that have been detected in the air and water here.
The results showed that exposure is occurring, according to Louisiana
chemist Wilma Subra.
“Clearly, it’s connecting the dots — which we didn’t want to happen,” Subra
Subra, the recipient of a 1999 MacArthur Fellows “genius” grant for her work as
an environmental health scientist, has been working with the community ever
since Dish spent $15,000 last year to commission its own study of the town’s air
Eleven gas gathering pipelines converge at the southern end of the town, where
five energy companies run major compression and metering facilities in a
side-by-side complex of plants on Strader Road.
Allison Lowery, Texas Department of State Health Services spokeswoman,
confirmed that the department sent results last week to all 28 residents who
were tested, far fewer than the 50 people the agency originally planned to
choose at random for testing.
In addition, the department will release a summary report, since individual
results are considered confidential. The aggregate report is being drafted now
and should be released the last week of April or the first week of May, Lowery
Resident Amber Smith was troubled that it took so long to get the individual
results, she said. When investigators came to take a water sample along with
blood and urine samples in January, she was told it would take four to six
weeks to get results.
As she read the April 2 cover letter that came with her results, she said the
words seemed carefully crafted.
She was angered, however, she said, at how the letter suggested she had been
exposed to the solvent N,N-dimethylformamidethrough“the production of
electronic components, pharmaceutical products, textile coatings, and synthetic
“I’m around none of that,” Smith said. “They found the same compounds in all my
neighbors, but in trying to explain that, they failed to associate that it
could be the drilling. They never once did even mention that in their
Similarly, when he received his individual results, Mayor Calvin Tillman said
he was reassured at first, since the levels detected in his blood did not
exceed any average values for the general population, according to the cover
letter that came with his test results.
But no such baseline comparison exists for urine, where toxic compounds show up
as metabolites in the body. And, after Smith and Tillman compared their
individual results with several other residents, they became more concerned.
The same toxic compounds found in their own blood and urine tests were detected
in other residents. Tillman said he asked Subra to make some comparisons.
Overall, many of the same compounds found in the air or in the local water
supplies, which state health officials also tested, have been detected in the
blood and urine from those test results she’s seen, Subra said.
Toluene, for example, was detected in the air at all seven locations tested in
Dish last August. A toluene metabolite was detected in Tillman’s urine sample
along with the urine samples of at least three other residents. Records for
four of the 28 individuals were released to the Denton Record-Chronicle by the
Tillman said his health is good, but he has experienced headaches and a burning
feeling in his throat and lungs when he could smell emissions coming from the
Tillman’s urine contained 5.4 micrograms of a toluene metabolite per gram of
creatinine, according to the documents, along with 832 micrograms of a
butadiene metabolite and 307 grams of a N,N-dimethylformamide metabolite.
All three compounds are among 187 airborne toxic substances that the
Environmental Protection Agency is supposed to monitor. Dimethylformamide can
cause liver damage, butadiene can cause cancer and toluene can affect the
nervous system and the kidneys, according to studies compiled by the Agency for
Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, part of the U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services.
While ethylbenzene was found in six, and styrene in three, of the seven air
samples collected in August, state health investigators also found ethylbenzene
and styrene in Tillman’s well water.
Dish officials have been so focused on the air quality that they may have
forgotten the potential for exposure through the water supply, Subra said. Many
Dish residents have private water wells.
Lloyd Burgess was among those residents who also released his individual
results. State health officials noted that “the level of trichloroethene found
in [his] blood was slightly higher than the level found in people throughout
the United States,”
according to the cover letter.
Burgess’ blood test found 0.013 micrograms of trichloroethene, known as TCE,
per liter of blood, compared to a nationwide benchmark of less than 0.012
TCE is a solvent for metal cleaning and degreasing, sometimes found in home
maintenance and auto products. Repeated exposure to TCE may cause liver, kidney
or lung cancer, according to the federal registry. TCE also was found in one of
the air samples collected near Burgess’ home, Subra said.
Burgess declined to comment, saying his attorney advised him not to.
Both Smith and Tillman were troubled that none of the random samples taken by
investigators included children. Each is a parent of two elementary school-aged
Had state investigators tested the blood and urine of children, there would
have been no nationwide benchmark to compare the results, Lowery said.
Smith said she and her family live on land that belonged to their in-laws, and
she worries about what her children are being exposed to.
“I have this nagging guilt,” Smith said. “My kids are the most important thing
to me, but we can’t just up and move.
“Even if we did, where would we go? Everywhere it’s the same thing — even in Fort
Worth — there’s no escaping it.”
PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881. Her e-mail address is email@example.com .