East Greenwich Township officials hold town hall after tanker emits fumes and stench in New Jersey
TWP EAST GREENWICH, New Jersey (WPVI) — Dozens of New Jersey residents showed up at the East Greenwich Municipal Building Tuesday night, demanding answers after a stench gripped New Jersey for days.
“I felt it in my throat on Thursday and my daughter was having eye irritation. So it was ‘let’s get out of the dodge and not marinate in it,'” Everett Reiss of Mickleton said. “We fled the county and headed into the crisp, clean air of Philadelphia for an Airbnb for the weekend.”
The town hall panel was made up of representatives from emergency management, fire, police, hazardous materials, toxicologists and TransChem USA – the company responsible.
“We are here,” said Dave Edmundson, a representative from TransChem USA. “Our plan is to deal with it and get it out of your community as quickly and safely as possible.”
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Officials said they received more than 8,200 initial 911 calls last Wednesday after 3 p.m. Within half an hour, officials identified the smell came from a tanker truck located at the 100 block of Berkeley Road near Paulsboro on I-295.
“I wanted to hear what they had to say because it’s annoying to have that smell and think, ‘I have animals. I have kids. I live in this community. I feel how it’s strong,'” Eileen Hollingshead said. from East Greenwich.
Officials identified the vapor as Lubrizol 1389, a fuel additive that produced hydrogen sulfide and mercaptans. Officials said toxicologists conducted thousands of air quality tests. Two colorless gases have been found at less than 0.1 parts per million and are not carcinogenic to humans.
“Very low concentrations that are above our odor threshold but tens to thousands of times lower than any airborne concentrations that would be associated with adverse health effects,” said Michael Reilly, Project toxicologist at the Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health (CTEH).
Residents questioned how harmless the smell could be if some reported adverse physical effects like nausea and burning eyes and throat.
“Your body reacts to a very unpleasant smell, it’s called an unpleasant smell,” Reilly said. “These are transient responses, they have no long-term health effects. As soon as you are removed from this situation, these symptoms will disappear.”
TransChem said they had never had such a reaction before. The situation is contained, but they investigate why this chemical reaction happened in the first place.
The tanker is still in Greenwich Township but is not emitting any fumes. Authorities believe it is not yet safe to move the vehicle.
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