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Air Monitoring Results

Air Quality Alert
High Levels of SO2 Found

5/06/05 – 5/07/05

Late in the evening on May 6, 2005 at 12 Carroll Drive, high levels of sulfur dioxide, SO2, were detected. 81 of the 117 air quality readings covering 2 hours found detectable levels of SO2 in the air. From 10:30PM to 12:30AM the average concentration of SO2 in the air was 115.99 parts per billion by volume (ppbv). The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s Minimum Risk Level (the level at or below which that substance is unlikely to pose a measurable risk of harmful (adverse), noncancerous effects) for SO2 is 4.5 ppbv. Thus the average reading during this 2 hour period was over 25 times higher than the Minimum Risk Level. Over that time period the SO2 concentration level remained above the Minimum Risk Level 69% of the time.

Prevailing Wind: From the South-Southeast (SSE), which is from the direction of Chalmette Refining.


Sulfur dioxide attacks the respiratory system and triggers asthma attacks. Immediate effects of SO2 include sneezing, sore throat, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness. Prolonged exposure to SO2 can cause respiratory infections and symptoms of chronic bronchitis. Exposure to SO2 is more serious for children.

From January 1, 2004 through April 26, 2005 the National Response Center recorded 27 unplanned release incidents at Chalmette Refining involving SO2.

***Bucket samples do not pick up SO2***

© Chalmette Air Monitoring Project (CHAMP)
Copyright 2005-2006