Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Jan 22, 2016 (emphasis added): “One thing I happen to know about — and I can’t make any claim about it now — but I know this. Methane, when it’s exposed to sunlight, can produce as a by-product formaldehyde… Southern California gas knows that too… it transforms — when it’s subjected to sunlight — to formaldehyde. SoCalGas knows that, and they ought to be straight about it. They ought to be telling us… but they’re not.”
Report by the law firms of Morgan & Morgan, Panish Shea & Boyle, Kennedy & Madonna, and R. Rex Parris, Dec 16, 2015: Experts have stated that the gas emitted in the blowout contains mostly methane [which] can oxidize in the atmosphere [and] turn into formaldehyde. Formaldehyde can cause hypothermia, asphyxiation, and acidosis… Acidosis is a condition in which your body starts to digest itself.
Joseph Pfeifer*, Dec 30, 2015: “When all that methane is exposed to California sunshine it gets converted to formaldehyde. The nosebleeds, headaches etc. aren’t from the “odorant”… they are signs of formaldehyde exposure… These same symptoms are seen in people living near gas compressor stations due to leaking methane being converted… Obviously, this is something SoCal doesn’t want to talk about or you to know about.”
* The user comment above was almost certainly written by Dr. Joseph L. Pfeifer, M.D. (director of trauma and surgical critical care at Berkshire Medical Center), who recently authored a column mentioning formaldehyde, methane, and gas compressor stations.
NPR, Oct 30, 2014: A peer reviewed study… reveals dangerous levels of air toxins near fracking operations… The research was led by David Carpenter, a physician… he’s most concerned about the high levels of benzene and formaldehyde… He says the formaldehyde is formed… as a byproduct of methane leaks, when exposed to the sun.
Environmental Health (Journal), Oct 2014: Formaldehyde is also formed from methane in the presence of sunlight… It can affect nearly every tissue in the human body, leading to acute (dermal allergies, asthma) and chronic (neuro-, reproductive, hematopoietic, genetic and pulmonary toxicity and cellular damage) health effects.
Dr. David Carpenter, physician & director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at Univ. at Albany, Oct 31, 2014: “We focused a lot in our report on… benzene and formaldehyde… these are very dangerous for public health… Cancer isn’t going to occur tomorrow, it is going to occur 10-20-30 years from now in people that are exposed… What we are seeing right now are respiratory infections and nose bleeds. Think about formaldehyde, that’s basically an embalming fluid, if you breathe it in 24 hours a day… you are going to pickle epithelium in your nose. Many of the people living around these sites have nose bleeds.”
American Journal of Analytical Chemistry, 2013: Formaldehyde is a very dangerous chemical in human health; It gives negative effect to respiration channel, liver and kidney function…
CDC (pdf): What happens when someone breathes too much formaldehyde?… People can have symptoms such as: sore throat, cough, scratchy eyes, nosebleeds… [T]he longer the exposure, the greater the chance of getting cancer. Exposure to formaldehyde might increase the chance of getting cancer even at levels too low to cause symptoms.
Published: February 8th, 2016 at 10:21 am ET