Air Quality Investigation in Arlington and Tonopah, Arizona

egg barns near Tonopah

Egg barns in Tonopah

ATSDR is investigating whether breathing contaminants in air near egg farms in Arlington or Tonopah could harm people’s health. We will focus on assessing exposure to hydrogen sulfide and ammonia. We know these chemicals are present in the air near the facilities because

  • People report smelling odors in the area consistent with these chemicals.
  • Other organizations have measured these chemicals in the air in the past.

In 2017 there was not enough data for ATSDR to determine if there is a health risk.

In 2018 the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) is measuring hydrogen sulfide and ammonia in communities near these facilities. They have agreed to share their data with ATSDR. We will review the data ADEQ collects and decide if we can determine whether there is a public health risk.

If more air quality data are needed to determine whether there is a health risk, ATSDR will conduct additional air monitoring for hydrogen sulfide and ammonia. We may also measure particulate matter. People have shared photos and videos showing particulate emissions.

We will analyze data ADEQ collects and any ATSDR collects and then write a health consultation report with our conclusions and recommendations. ATSDR will keep you informed of our progress through regular email updates. Visit the Contact section to join our email list to stay up to date.

Timeline of Activities
  • April 2017 – ATSDR receives a petition request from two community organizations concerned that air emissions from Hickman’s Family Farms egg production facilities in Arlington and Tonopah, AZ, might pose health risks to the community.
  • November 2017 – ATSDR decides to investigate whether breathing contaminants in air near Arlington or Tonopah egg farms could harm people’s health. ATSDR proposes to collect information on ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and possibly particulate matter.
    ATSDR staff learn that the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) is planning air monitoring in the communities for 2018.
  • February 2018 – ATSDR staff visit Arlington and Tonopah areas to meet with stakeholders, conduct a public meeting in the community, and tour the area.

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Page last reviewed: July 16, 2018