“A good whiff will put blisters up your nose”

by admin on January 17, 2011

Phyllis Carr, 58, and her family share a house and a trailer in a valley along Hope Hollow Road in Fayette County near Lake Lynn, PA.  On the hill above her home, three natural gas compressors operated by Williams Pipeline noisily work away.  But it’s not the noise that has turned Phyllis’s life into a nightmare; it’s the fumes.   Since 2005, when the first compressor was installed, the family has suffered headaches, sore throats, and sinus congestion.  In 2010, the severity and frequency of symptoms intensified as two more compressors and a dehydrator were placed in service.  ”A strong chlorine-like smell comes in waves, usually in the early evening,” Phyllis said. “A good whiff will put blisters up your nose.” Last week, grandson PJ, 11, was allowed to play outside for one hour.  He was sent home from school the next day because he developed a skin rash. Other grandchildren, Rhonda,15,  and Daniel, 10, developed skin rashes and blisters after walking to the school bus.  In October, her daughter Jeannie, 37,  was treated at the emergency room  for  rashes and blisters on her neck and arms, the exposed skin.  Jeannie covered her skin when outdoors after the ER visit, but in a second incident, she developed blisters in her nose.  ”The doctors had never seen anything like it,” Jeannie said.  In November, she was treated at Jefferson Hospital for weakness and respiratory distress.  At that time, a blood test revealed traces of toxicity and a nurse advised her to leave the family home rather than risk further exposure.  Today, Jeannie reports, “Even after all the creams and all the steroids, my face still has lesions.  It won’t go away. I have scars on my throat.”

The family contacted the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.  Per Ms. Carr, in October they were visited by an inspector from PADEP.  However, two days before the inspector arrived to investigate, 2 of the 3 compressors were idled.  When the family followed up with the inspector, he assured them that no problems were detected.   But the Carr family did not accept that conclusion.   They began communicating with Calvin Tillman, mayor of Dish, Texas.  Dish experienced problems with benzene in the air from natural gas operations.  Mr. Tillman responded to their plight by quietly providing them with an air sample collection canister which they hung from a tree in the backyard for 24 hours, then returned to Mr. Tillman.  The results of that air analysis revealed measurable levels of several toxic compounds including acetone, benzene, chloromethane, ethanol, hexane, methylene chloride, and toluene.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Phyllis Carr January 19, 2011 at 1:53 am

I never dreamed the air around my place I call home would be poison to me. No one is hearing our cry for help but they soon will be crying too. The very air we all breath is slipping through the hands of those who can stop this or is it too late? The birds and fish are dying. If they can’t live here how can you and I? I don’t belive this was the kind of energy every one needed. The doctors here in Pa or West Virgina can’t give us any answers to our sickness from compressor stations so we are left to go try and find on our own. I spend sleepless nights, my daughter and I, to try and find an answer for the children’s sake but time is runing out for us and other’s just like my family. The industry don’t hear the cries at night from headaches, body ache and burning throats when you walk through this air. Energy has to be even if it costs us our lives. I guess in a way we our serving our country only the battle is gas and we have no way to win. They’re just a bit bigger than you and I. They knew we didn’t have the thing’s to fight them with because they bought people through their contributions and they were our only fighting tool and when your tools break down your done. I and my daughter and five grandchildren stand with you in this fight together we will win this battle we have one tool they dont have and He’s been watching over my family. Lets join hands and give it all we have to win.


Liz R. July 13, 2012 at 10:35 am

Thank you for sharing your story – keep telling it! There are many people all over the world working hard to get the truth out about shale gas. I wanted to share this link with you for the Southwestern Pa Environmental Health Project. I hope it helps.


Tayler File November 1, 2012 at 4:07 am

My name is Tayler File, I am an independent journalist. I would love to talk to you or anyone else affected by fracking.

Please feel free to contact me,

Tayler File


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