Urgent Cares in Philadelphia

Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said trying to give people better access to primary care is still essential.

“It is too early to determine the impact [of urgent care] on Philadelphia’s health system or the health of residents,” Farley said, “but they are not a substitute for an ongoing relationship with a strong primary care provider.”

https://billypenn.com/2020/02/11/urgent-cares-are-suddenly-everywhere-in-philly-can-they-help-boost-the-citys-health/

By Michaela Winberg

Philadelphia Air Quality Survey

Now, that is changing. After years of preparation, city officials will soon release the first report quantifying the street-level pollution in each and every Philadelphia neighborhood. The report is scheduled for public release later this winter or in early spring.

“People want to know what the air quality is like in their neighborhood; that’s a very reasonable request. Up until now, we have not been able to tell them that,” said Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley.

https://whyy.org/articles/philly-has-a-new-way-to-track-air-quality-but-it-wont-help-in-an-emergency/

By Catalina Jaramillo

Benzene Follow-up

But James Garrow, a spokesman for the Philadelphia Health Department, says the city has had the EPA data for months and compared it to its own data from a monitor in Point Breeze.

He says the city doesn’t concur with the group’s dire warnings.

“Yes, there was benzene in the air found in the study, but we never felt that it was a threat to human health there in South Philly,” Garrow said.

https://kywnewsradio.radio.com/articles/news/group-pes-refinery-released-dangerously-high-benzene-level

By Mark Abrams

Missing Overdose Victims

“This is rising,” Health Department spokesperson Jim Garrow told Billy Penn. “We think that people are calling 911, administering naloxone and then the person is revived. Their life is saved. And they don’t want to wait for the ambulance.”

https://billypenn.com/2020/01/28/when-philly-paramedics-arrive-many-overdose-victims-have-vanished/

By Max Marin

EPA Benzene Report

Inquirer

Philadelphia’s Air Management Services, under the health department, operates 10 monitors around the city measuring ambient levels of air pollutants including benzene. The monitor closest to the plant, at 24th and Ritner Streets, never detected benzene amounts that would raise a public health alarm in the years prior to the fire, said James Garrow, a health department spokesman.

https://www.inquirer.com/business/energy/philadephia-refinery-auction-pes-land-reuse-pollution-20200117.html

By Andrew Maykuth

NBC News

James Garrow, a spokesman for Philadelphia’s Department of Public Health, said in a statement that “it is a well-known fact that refineries emit benzene during operation.” He said that a city-run air monitor a half mile from where the refinery’s highest benzene emissions were recorded didn’t record excessive benzene emissions after the disaster and that any “responsible bidder” would seek out such information.

https://www.nbcnews.com/science/environment/massive-oil-refinery-leaks-toxic-chemical-middle-philadelphia-n1115336

By Corbin Hiar, E&E News and Lisa Riordan Seville

WHYY

Garrow said the city did not disclose the information to the public because testing at a city air-monitoring station at 24th and Ritner streets did not show such high levels.

“Within the community, we never found levels of benzene high enough to indicate a threat to human health,” he said.

https://whyy.org/articles/high-levels-of-cancer-causing-gas-recorded-at-pes-refinery-in-may-report-reveals/

By Catalina Jaramillo

WHYY 2

James Garrow, a spokesman for the city’s Department of Public Health, told WHYY that the EPA informed the city that PES was exceeding the limit last May. According to the EPA’s rule, the action level is not an enforceable limit. But it gives refineries surpassing the limit 45 days to submit a report analysing the possible causes and establishing ways to fix them.

https://whyy.org/articles/chicago-based-hilco-redevelopment-partners-expected-to-be-new-pes-refinery-owner/

By Catalina Jaramillo

Is Philadelphia’s Air Cleaner?

Environmental advocates say the air sensors pick up only some refinery emissions, and much depends upon the direction that the wind is blowing. The city’s Public Health Department is reluctant to draw conclusions based on short-term data, and says it keeps watch on emissions over the entire region.

“It’s difficult to say if it’s better or not because that term is so variable, and right now we’re tracking that type of thing over an entire year,” said James Garrow, spokesperson for the city’s Air Management Services, which regulates air emissions.

https://www.inquirer.com/business/energy/philadelphia-air-quality-pollution-refinery-pes-curious-philly-20191226.html

By Andrew Maykuth

Hepatitis Data Exposure

The reporter found the records on a public data tool built by the health department in October, shortly after the hepatitis records were posted. Minutes after being notified by The Inquirer of the exposed records, the department deleted them. As such, “there was no risk to confidentiality,” said Jim Garrow, health department spokesperson.

https://www.inquirer.com/news/health-hepatitis-opioid-data-breach-20191220.html

By Nat Lash