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Statement on Bella Vista Air Monitoring Preliminary Findings
The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) received preliminary air quality results from samples the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) collected from the site off Trafalgar Road in Bella Vista that is being referred to as a “stump dump.” These data are still being validated, and will not be considered final until the EPA notifies the ADH that they are validated and final. This is expected to happen in the next few business days.
The preliminary results from samples collected offsite do not show high levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) or Semi-Volatile Organic Compounds (SVOCs), otherwise known as chemicals, in the air outside of the location. Based on these air samples collected offsite, the general public does not appear to be at risk of exposure to dangerous chemicals in the air.
Smoke has been reported in the area, and even without high levels of VOCs in the smoke, breathing it in may cause eye and respiratory tract (throat, chest and nose) discomfort and irritation.
Please see your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms. You can limit exposure to smoke include staying indoors.
One of the samples that was collected onsite (within the boundaries of the stump dump) tested positive for benzene at a level of 30 parts benzene per billion parts of air (ppb). Benzene is a VOC and can cause health effects that are serious if a person is exposed to it either in high doses (a lot of it) or over a long amount of time. Because some people are exposed to this chemical through their jobs, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set exposure limits of 1000-part benzene per billion parts of workplace air (1000 ppb) for 8 hour shifts during 40-hour work weeks.
The ADH has notified the owner and operator about what needs to be done to make sure employees and those on site are taking appropriate precautions to protect themselves against any exposure to benzene.
The ADH is working with ADEQ and EPA to continue sampling and monitoring the site, both within the vicinity and outside of the site, for air quality and chemicals, including benzene.
Additional information and further evaluation will be available once data are validated and final. For additional information contact the Environmental Epidemiology Program at firstname.lastname@example.org.