The Louisiana Department of Health and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality are reporting that residents of coastal areas of southeast Louisiana, including New Orleans, may be detecting an odor possibly resulting from the oil spill approaching the Louisiana coast.

LDH and DEQ have requested continuous air quality testing and monitoring from the EPA, and DEQ will be assisting the EPA by increasing the frequency of air sampling at its Kenner and Chalmette monitors.  These samples will receive expedited turnaround by EPA labs.  If it is determined that air quality issues exist, DEQ and LDH will communicate these issues immediately to local authorities or take any other action deemed appropriate to protect public health and safety.

Some people may be sensitive to any change in air quality, which could cause symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, or headaches.  If you have these symptoms, you should consider staying indoors, ventilating your home with air conditioning and avoiding strenuous outdoor activity. If these symptoms do not improve, you should then consider contacting your primary care physician or other health care provider for medical advice. If you have pre-existing medical conditions, such as asthma or other respiratory illness, you should consider communicating with your physician if you feel symptomatic.

LDH and DEQ will release additional information as it becomes available.