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Health Officials: OC Coastal Air Quality Still Good Despite Oil Spill
By City News Service
Published October 8, 2021

Cleanup contractors deploy skimmers and floating barriers known as booms to try to stop further oil crude incursion into the Wetlands Talbert Marsh in Huntington Beach, Calif., Sunday., Oct. 3, 2021. One of the largest oil spills in recent Southern California history fouled popular beaches and killed wildlife while crews scrambled Sunday to contain the crude before it spread further into protected wetlands. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Testing conducted along the Orange County coast following the massive underwater oil leak has not detected any discernable issues with air quality, health officials said today.

According to testing done by the South Coast Air Quality Management District in coordination with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Orange County Health Care Agency and a consulting firm, air quality was within acceptable standards for a typical day, and pollutant levels were below state health standards. Sampling was done at 12 sites along the coast, along with mobile air surveys.  But while the air is clean, the water is not.

“As the oil response teams continue to monitor, inspect and clean the beaches to ensure that appropriate cleanup actions are taken, and in advance of water analysis from the Unified Command, our original health advisory continues to remain in place,” county Health Officer Dr. Clayton Chau said in a statement. “We ask that our residents and visitors continue to avoid the ocean water and oiled areas of our beaches to limit the risk of contaminants being absorbed through the skin, inhalation and ingestion until further notice. This means refraining from recreational activities on the coastline such as swimming, surfing, biking, walking, exercising, fishing and gathering.”

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