New Orleans

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Earlier this week, an environmental group said that it is sending its emergency response team to document it claims are health-related illnesses caused by the lingering chemical odor in the air at St. Rose in New Orleans. Parish officials at St. Charles have started getting complaints about a strange stench in the air surrounding the building. But the parish stated that although the state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has been conducting ongoing air monitoring, there’s no need to worry.

“That’s the main reason that we can say there’s not a need to take protective measures,” Lee Lemond, an environmental scientist with DEQ, said Friday. “There’s nothing (in testing) that indicates a need.” People living in St. Rose said that they are feeling nauseated, have headaches, and are throwing up and getting diarrhea from the chemicals in the air. The DEQ says that the odor doesn’t post serious health risks, but folks in the neighborhood are disagreeing with this decision.

Ann Rolfes is the Founding Director of Louisiana Bucket Brigade says she wants to help people living in the area who have to deal with the strong sulfur smell.

“They are being abandoned by the state.  Our Department of Environmental Quality isn’t doing their job.  It’s endangering people and they should be evacuated,” Rolfes says. Eyewitness News reported last Sunday that since the smell started, a local activist group has received over 22 complaints from residents. Many say it is coming from a nearby plant.

“Your eyes started burning, your nose is irritated to where you can actually taste it,” said Erica Bolden, local resident. “My mom has asthma and she was getting nauseated to where she was vomiting.”