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Sep 102012
 

Representatives from the Mobile County Health Department will be conducting household interviews of

residents in the Eight Mile community on Wednesday, Sept. 12 through Friday, Sept. 14, between 10 a.m.
and 7 p.m. This is part of an ongoing collaboration between the Alabama Department of Public Health
and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in response to the ongoing odor and reports of health
symptoms by residents in the area.

In April 2012, the source of the odor was identified as tert-butyl mercaptan, a sulfur compound with a
skunk-like odor added to natural gas to detect leaks. Short-term exposure can cause physical symptoms
such as skin and respiratory irritation. As exposure to tert-butyl mercaptan would typically occur in an
occupational setting, there is no available information on adverse health effects associated with long-term
exposure in a community.

Dr. Bernard Eichold, Mobile County Health Officer, said, “This is a very unusual situation, and it is
important to investigate any potential public health concerns. We greatly appreciate and value the
cooperation and participation of the public.”

Assessment teams will be conducting the interviews of randomly selected households. All team members
will be wearing identification badges and will be able to provide a phone number for identification
verification. The survey should take between 10 and 15 minutes to complete.

The data collected will be analyzed by the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health Division of
Environmental Hazards and Health Effects Health Studies Branch. The findings of the assessment will
be used to develop public health recommendations which will be communicated to local officials and the
community.

For more info:  MobileCountyHealth.org