Alabama Residents Complain of Symptoms Linked To Mercaptan Exposure

"Dozens of residents in Prichard’s Eight Mile community [Ala.] have sought medical help due to symptoms they believe are related to exposure to mercaptan, the chemical that Mobile Gas spilled in the neighborhood in 2008."

"Complaints include nausea, dizziness, headaches, sore throats, confusion, weakness and eye irritation, said Rick Courtney, a lawyer representing the community in a lawsuit against Mobile Gas. Courtney said that children, the elderly, and people with lung problems such as asthma, seem to be the most severely affected.

Highly pungent mercaptan is added to natural gas to aid in the detection of leaks. The characteristic odor has permeated the Eight Mile community since November.

Courtney said a member of his staff was overcome by similar symptoms last week while working in the community. Two Press-Register reporters developed headaches after spending several hours in the community last month, including in the area around a spring that has been identified as the source of the odor."

Ben Raines reports for the Mobile Press-Register May 3. 2012.

Source: Mobile Press-Register, 05/04/2012