About Mossville (Calcasieu Parish), Louisiana
Calcasieu Parish is the location for a large number of companies that produce organic chemicals, including petroleum-based chemicals and chlorinated hydrocarbon solvents. Mossville is a small community in Calcasieu Parish midway between the larger communities of Westlake and Sulphur. In these communities people live, work, and play near the chemical plants.
History of ATSDR’s Involvement
In 1997, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asked ATSDR to review the results of blood tests for a few residents of the parish. These tests indicated elevated levels of dioxin in some samples.
In response to the test results and community concerns, ATSDR conducted an exposure investigation, which is a technique ATSDR scientists use to better characterize the potential exposure of people to hazardous substances. Blood samples were collected from 28 Mossville residents. These samples were analyzed for dioxin. Test results indicated elevated levels of dioxin in some samples.
As a result of these findings ATSDR implemented several follow-up activities including:
- Conducted a study to determine whether Calcasieu Parish residents had been exposed to unusual levels of dioxin, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). This study began in January 2002. Findings of the dioxin portion of the study were released in 2006; findings from the VOC and PCB investigation are expected in 2010,
- Conducted a follow-up exposure investigation to understand more about current and past exposures to dioxins. This investigation included information about environmental dioxin levels in residents’ homes and local environments, including dust, residential soil, well water, homegrown fruits and vegetables, and locally caught fish.
- Evaluted environmental data to address possible pathways and routes by which community members might be exposed to chemicals,
- Worked with EPA, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, and the community to present a symposium on environmental health for doctors and nurses in the parish. More than 360 health professionals attended the February 2002 symposium,
- Worked with community groups and EPA to conduct ongoing dialogue and meetings with community members and groups, until 2006.
In 2006, community leaders requested that ATSDR provide all results at once, rather than providing them as they became available. Since that time, ATSDR has worked continuously to analyze data on the environment and on exposure to PCBs and VOCs in order to provide the community a more complete picture of possible health issues. In 2009, ATSDR engaged community members to help develop the best ways to share the remaining findings and to move forward.
In 2009, ATSDR engaged community members to help develop the best ways to share the remaining findings and to move forward. One request from community members has been for more access to health information. In spring 2010, ATSDR is offering free health classes to community members in order to share information about environmental health as well as other health concerns. The class series is based on health questions shared by residents.