News Release
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313 N. Figueroa Street, Room 806  |  Los Angeles, CA 90012  |  (213) 288-8144  |

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For Immediate Release:

January 20, 2016

County Officials Closely Monitor Aliso Canyon Gas Leak

LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health), Fire Department, and Office of Emergency Management work to protect Los Angeles County residents who are affected by the Aliso Canyon gas leak. Public Health continues to address community health concerns, expedite temporary relocations, and develop a comprehensive and collaborative Expanded Air Monitoring Plan, in consultation with regulatory agencies and other partners.

“We want to reassure the residents of Porter Ranch and surrounding areas that the health of the community is our number one priority,” said Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, MD, MPH, Interim Health Officer for Los Angeles County. "Since the natural gas leak was reported, Public Health continues to assess the health effects and address the impact on local residents.”

Daily activities at the Aliso Canyon storage facility are being monitored by state and local agencies.

“The Los Angeles County Fire Department is on-site providing daily oversight and expertise regarding safety,” said Chief Daryl Osby, Los Angeles County Fire Department. “The Department recommends greater local control over gas storage fields in our jurisdiction to ensure all requirements that apply to refineries and other high-risk facilities also apply to underground gas storage fields.”

The County has implemented an Expanded Air Monitoring Plan which directs that air sampling be conducted twice a day by the South Coast Air Quality Management District and Southern California Gas Company. Public Health reviews the data and analyzes the potential exposure to chemicals emitted.

Some residents have reported experiencing symptoms such as nausea, headaches, and nose bleeds due to the odors, which are likely caused by additives in the natural gas. Anyone experiencing symptoms can report health complaints to Public Health by calling 888-700-9995 or visiting Doctors are encouraged to contact Public Health with questions as well.

Concerns have also been raised about exposure to other toxic chemicals in natural gas including benzene, a known human carcinogen.

“We find that nearly all of the measured benzene concentrations in the Porter Ranch community are below the levels where adverse health effects are expected to occur,” said Angelo Bellomo, REHS, QEP, Deputy Director for Health Protection, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. “Benzene levels to date are generally in the range of those found throughout the Los Angeles region. Nevertheless, we are expanding the air monitoring effort to fully evaluate this risk, and we will continually reassess conditions as new data is generated.”

Public Health suggests keeping pets indoors in areas where odors are persistent, as animals may be sensitive to the odors. If pets are lethargic, vomiting or having difficulty breathing, it is recommended that owners contact their local veterinarian. For information about animal health, please visit Public Health’s website at

"The Aliso Canyon natural gas release serves as a reminder to all of our residents of the importance of being prepared for natural and man-made hazards,” said Jeff Reeb, Director of Los Angeles County Department of Office of Emergency Management. “We encourage everyone to discuss an emergency plan with their family and friends, to prepare a ‘go bag’ of essential items such as prescription medicines and personal care items and to enroll in Alert LA County."

The Department of Public Health is committed to protecting and improving the health of the nearly 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control, and community and family health. Public Health comprises nearly 4,000 employees and has an annual budget exceeding $900 million. To learn more about the LA County Department of Public Health and the work they do, visit PublicHealth, and follow Public Health on social media at ublicHealth, facebook.c om/LAPublicHealth, and youtub