Mayflower, Ark., residents, including a number of children, are continuing to experience adverse health effects after ExxonMobil’s’s Pegasus pipeline ruptured, Dustin McDaniel, the state’s Attorney General said Tuesday. ExxonMobil’s pipeline breached on March 29, spilling about 5,000 barrels of highly toxic Canadian tar sands oil into a neighborhood and surrounding land.
Mr. McDaniels said that town residents continue to suffer from headaches, nausea, and other adverse symptoms after more than a month after the spill.
“As we met with residents and groups that represent them … I heard time and time again about their concerns for their health, especially the health of their children,” Mr. McDaniel said at a news conference when he announced that his office had created a special task force to address the ongoing health concerns of Mayflower residents.
ExxonMobil says that ongoing air tests in Mayflower show that levels for key toxins are either not detectable or below levels that the Arkansas Department of Health considers safe.
But the area continues to be blanketed in vapors from the spill.
“The smell is a constant reminder that things are not as they should be,” Mr. McDaniel said. “Both the subdivision and the cove look more like construction sites than neighborhoods.”
ExxonMobil cleanup workers have removed about a third of the spilled oil, according to the company.
The citizen-based Faulkner County Citizens Advisory Group issued a report recently that found the health complaints of Mayflower residents were consistent with exposure to toxins found in samples taken soon after the spill, posing the question as to how long such symptoms can last.
“Even four weeks later, residents are still feeling symptoms from the chemical exposure. People have consistently talked about gastrointestinal problems, headaches, respiratory problems, skin irritation including chemical burns, and extreme fatigue,” April Lane of the FCCAG said in a news release.