PES Fire Press Conference

WHYY

But Philadelphia’s deputy health commissioner, Caroline Johnson, said the windy day helped clear the air of any pollutants that could have affected city residents.

“Based on aggressive sampling of air quality in the region of PES, we found nothing of concern, and we see no evidence that there’s been an impact on the health of the public in Philadelphia,” Johnson said.

https://whyy.org/articles/city-officials-to-convene-working-group-on-the-pes-refinery-fire-while-residents-rally-to-shut-the-plant-down/

By Susan Phillips and Dana Bate

KYW

Deputy Health Commissioner Caroline Johnson said Air Management Services has been doing “aggressive” monitoring of chemicals associated with fires and burning fuel.

“They have been doing daily inspections in the community and along the fence line of PES (Philadelphia Energy Solutions), and all of those have been negative,” she said, adding there’s no evidence of any other public health effects.

https://kywnewsradio.radio.com/articles/news/city-officials-say-no-evidence-elevated-chemical-levels-after-refinery-fire

By Pat Loeb

NBC10

Dr. Caroline Johnson said Health Department staff have been conducting “very aggressive” air quality monitoring in neighborhoods surrounding Philadelphia Energy Solutions’ Girard Point refinery since Friday morning.

https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/South-Philadelphia-Refinery-Fire-Explosion-Aftermath-Update-511785561.html

By Vince Lattanzio

Inquirer

Dr. Caroline Johnson, a deputy health commissioner for the city, said experts had been carefully checking air quality for any increase in noxious chemicals and found none. On Friday, she said, tests showed very minor elevations of acetone and ethanol, but those quickly abated.

She noted that there was no evidence of any release of hydrogen fluoride, a deadly chemical used in refining. Nor, she said, was there any spike in visits to area emergency rooms for breathing problems.

https://www.inquirer.com/news/philadelphia-fire-refinery-cause-health-pes–20190625.html

By Willliam Bender and Craig McCoy

Patch

While the scene at PES is still active, there is no threat to the community, officials said.

Health officials said air quality monitoring is ongoing.

https://patch.com/pennsylvania/chestnuthill/philly-refinery-explosion-fire-probe-could-take-years-officials

By Max Bennett

AP

The city’s deputy health commissioner said Tuesday that aggressive air monitoring has turned up nothing of note and that emergency rooms have not reported increases in people with respiratory distress.

Dr. Caroline Johnson also said air samples tested for 61 chemical compounds found “very minor” elevations of acetone and ethanol Friday but nothing since then.

https://www.sfchronicle.com/news/us/article/Refinery-fire-not-formally-under-control-no-14046661.php

Inquirer 2

Health concerns: Mayor Jim Kenney notes that “there are no findings that would suggest a threat to public health.” Dr. Caroline Johnson, a deputy health commissioner for the city, said hydrogen fluoride was not released.

https://www.inquirer.com/business/refinery-close-philadelphia-energy-solutions-fire-timeline-20190626.html

By Patricia Madej

Curbed Philly

Philly’s Department of Public Health reported Friday that they took samples of the air with hand monitors right outside the plant and through the neighborhood, looking for hydrocarbons, combustibles, hydrogen sulfide, and carbon monoxide. All tests came back negative, said the health department’s communications director James Garrow.

The department conducted 18 more tests over the weekend, all of which came back negative, he said Monday.

On Saturday and Sunday the department also took grab samples and tested the air around the plant for 61 different volatile compounds. All 61 compounds came back as being below legal limits, though two compounds—acetone and ethanol—were reported as being higher than usual, Garrow said.

https://philly.curbed.com/2019/6/26/18759682/pes-shut-down-refinery-oil-permanently

By Anna Merriman

PES Fire and Explosion

NBC10

Two air samples taken by the Philadelphia Health Department later Friday morning found that none of 61 chemical compounds tested were at unsafe levels, an official with the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management said.

https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/I-Would-Leave-the-Area-for-as-Much-of-the-Day-as-Possible-Experts-Neighbors-Worry-About-Air-Quality-After-Refinery-Fires-511621091.html

By Staff

AP

The Department of Public Health says air sample testing at the 150-year-old refinery and surrounding community has found “no ambient carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons (combustibles), or hydrogen sulfides.”

https://abc11.com/philadelphia-refinery-fire-continues-neighbors-react-to-explosions/5356529/

By Staff

CNBC

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health said that there is no danger in the surrounding community. It’s preliminary testing showed no signs of ambient carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons (combustibles), or hydrogen sulfides in the air samples.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/06/21/giant-explosion-rocks-largest-refinery-complex-on-the-east-coast-sends-gasoline-prices-higher.html

By Maggie Fitzgerald

CNN

The city’s Department of Public Health Air Management Services Lab “is testing samples taken from up- and downwind of the refinery fire,” according to James Garrow, spokesman for the department.
The department will continue working with Philadelphia Energy Solutions to monitor air quality, Garrow said, before adding that he was “not aware of any immediate danger from the fire.”

https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/21/us/philadelphia-refinery-fire/index.html

By Jason Hanna, Madeline Holcomb, and Joe Sutton

Inquirer

“Preliminary testing both at the site of the refinery and in the adjacent community has shown no ambient carbon monoxide, hydrocarbobutanens (combustibles), or hydrogen sulfide,” James Garrow, spokesperson for the health department, said in a statement.

https://www.inquirer.com/science/climate/philadelphia-refinery-fire-health-impacts-environment-explosion-20190621.html

By Frank Kummer

PhillyVoice

The Health Department does not have any findings indicating any danger at this time, spokesman James Garrow said in an email. Preliminary testing – both at the refinery and in the adjacent community – did not reveal any ambient carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons or hydrogen sulfide.

https://www.phillyvoice.com/philadelphia-refinery-explosion-health-asthma-philadelphia-energy-solutions/

By John Kopp

Vice

Philadelphia’s Public Health Department said in a tweet that the city’s Air Management Services took samples at the refinery and in the immediate community “found no ambient carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons (combustibles), or hydrogen sulfides”—all toxic chemicals that are commonly found in oil refinery facilities.

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/7xgqyd/philadelphias-oil-refinery-explosion-is-americas-third-major-dirty-fuel-facility-fire-in-six-months

By Caroline Haskins

WHYY

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health said in a statement that preliminary air sampling at the refinery and adjacent sites has shown no ambient carbon monoxide, combustible hydrocarbons or hydrogen sulfide.

https://whyy.org/articles/fire-at-philadelphia-energy-solutions-oil-refinery-residents-sheltering-in-place/

By Staff

GridPhilly

“The Health Department has no findings that would point to any immediate danger in the surrounding community at this time, and the City is NOT recommending evacuation or shelter-in-place,” says Health Department spokesman James Garrow in the City’s press release.

https://www.gridphilly.com/grid-magazine/2019/6/21/is-the-real-danger-of-the-pes-explosion-being-measured

By Alex Mulcahy

KYW

“The Health Department maintains a working relationship with PES. We maintain an air monitor close to the refinery that operates 24/7, receive notifications of exceedances of emission limits from them, and can and do issues notices of violations for exceedances. They are required to submit plans and models for their plants to ensure compliance with federal, state, and local air pollution regulations. With regard to today’s fire, the Health Department had inspectors on-scene as soon as possible taking samples and testing the air for immediate health hazards. The samples are currently being tested, and monitoring will continue.”

https://kywnewsradio.radio.com/articles/news/neighbors-are-demanding-answers-following-south-philly-refinery-explosion

By Pat Loeb

CBS3

“Based on the result of samples taken this morning, the health department has no findings that would suggest there is a threat to the public health as a result of today’s fire,” department director with the Office of Emergency Management Noel Feleza said.

https://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2019/06/21/philadelphia-councilwoman-helen-gym-calls-south-philadelphia-refinery-to-be-shut-down-as-fire-continues-to-burn-following-explosion/

By Alexandria Hoff

Inquirer 2

City health spokesman James Garrow said the city took air quality samples both up- and downwind of the refinery. The samples were taken to the city’s Air Management Service Laboratory and were tested for 61 different chemical compounds, none of which were found to be at “or even near” harmful levels.

https://www.inquirer.com/news/philadelphia/refinery-explosion-fire-south-philadelphia-energy-solutions-20190621.html

By Joseph Gambardello, Andrew Maykuth and Patricia Madej

NBC10 2 (6-23-19)

The Philadelphia Fire Department’s hazmat unit and the Department of Public Health will continue to test the air for any hazards.

So far, they have not found anything unsafe, officials said.

https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Air-Testing-Continues-After-Massive-Philly-Refinery-Explosion-Fire-511694192.html

By Staff

KYW 2 (6-23-19)

“Preliminary testing both at the site of the refinery and in the adjacent community has shown no ambient carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons (combustibles), or hydrogen sulfide,” James Garrow, spokesman for city’s Department of Public Health Air Management Services Lab said Friday.

https://kywnewsradio.radio.com/articles/news/investigation-gets-set-begin-officials-announce-south-philly-refinery-fire-out

By Kevin Wright and Pat Loeb

US News and World Report

City health officials said in the afternoon that there were no findings suggesting any dangers to the surrounding community, said Philadelphia Department of Public Health spokesman James Garrow in a statement. He said no HF was detected during monitoring outside of the refinery as well.

https://www.usnews.com/news/us/articles/2019-06-21/fire-at-philadelphia-energy-solutions-refinery-in-philadelphia-fire-department

By Jarrett Renshaw

6ABC

Four hours after the explosions, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health tweeted, “No findings that would point to any immediate danger in the surrounding community.”

https://6abc.com/health/pollution-from-refinery-fire-could-irritate-asthma-copd-sufferers/5357361/

By Staff

Grist

According to city officials, Friday’s explosion has not worsened the air quality in or around the plant. James Garrow, the director for communications for Philadelphia’s Department of Public Health, said officials went to the refinery early Friday morning to collect up- and downwind samples and conduct airtime monitoring around the area. Garrow said they didn’t find any elevated levels of carbon monoxide and other combustibles in nearby communities. “Our readings told us that there was no threat to human health,” Garrow told Grist.

https://grist.org/article/residents-say-theyve-already-had-enough-as-investigation-starts-into-philadelphia-refinery-fire/

By Rachel Ramirez

Inquirer 3 (6-23-2019)

owever, Air Management Services, which also issues violations for air pollutants, has repeatedly flagged the refinery for its emissions in the recent past. It found the refinery had “High Priority Violations” of the Clean Air Act in nine of the last 12 quarters.

Garrow said High Priority Violations of the Clean Air Act “are those which warrant additional scrutiny to ensure local state and federal agencies respond in an appropriate manner.”

https://www.inquirer.com/science/climate/philadelphia-refinery-fire-pollution-history-20190624.html

By Frank Kummer

PhillyVoice 2 (6-23-2019)

The Philadelphia Department of Health tested the air quality on Friday. The department collected samples from up-wind and down-wind of the refinery and tested the air samples for 61 chemicals. According to the department, there were no compounds found to be “above, or even near, the levels set by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists as safe for workers who are exposed every day for a lifetime.”

https://www.phillyvoice.com/refinery-fire-extinguished-philadelphia-energy-solutions/

By Virginia Streva

Philly Tribune

Health Department tests done Friday found no hazards in the air, city officials said.

https://www.phillytrib.com/philadelphia-to-convene-group-to-look-at-south-philly-refinery/article_32406f42-7553-55f3-aa86-857931901868.html

By Jake Blumgart

NYTimes

The Philadelphia Health Department said that officials took air samples after the explosion on Friday and that preliminary tests had found no ambient carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons or hydrogen sulfides.

Other samples were being tested. The department said it had “no findings that would point to any immediate danger in the surrounding community at this time.”

By Sarah Mervosh

Curbed Philly

Philly’s Department of Public Health took samples of the air with hand monitors outside the plant and through the neighborhood, looking for hydrocarbons, combustibles, hydrogen sulfide, and carbon monoxide. All tests came back negative, said the health department’s communications director James Garrow.

https://philly.curbed.com/2019/6/26/18759820/pes-refinery-shutdown-fire-land-remediation

By Anna Merriman

Gosnell Memorial

I called the Medical Examiner’s Office myself and left a message, and also sent an email, and this is the response I received from James Garrow, communications director for the Philadelphia Department of Health:

Thank you for reaching out, Christine. The Medical Examiner’s Office and Health Department have no comment on this request.

https://www.delcotimes.com/opinion/christine-flowers-finally-bringing-dignity-to-human-remains/article_18adb0fc-8459-11e9-94ed-cb4cf383698e.html

By Christine Flowers

Chester County Methamphetamine

According to James Garrow, a spokesman for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, drug deaths in which toxicology reports showed methamphetamine rose between 2015 and 2017, but remained stable in 2018.

“The number is still small,” said Garrow. “Only about six percent of drug deaths in Philadelphia last year were positive for methamphetamine — and most of these were also positive for one or more opioids.”

https://www.dailylocal.com/news/chesco-d-a-meth-storming-back-in-county-region/article_fd35018c-7728-11e9-929f-0b74fe35664a.html

By Michael Rellahan

2018 Overdose Deaths

Release

https://mailchi.mp/phila.gov/overdose-deaths-in-philadelphia-dropped-by-more-than-100-in-2018?e=[UNIQID]

Inquirer

  • Overdose death rates dropped in all demographic groups, except for those over 55. Deaths in that age group increased by 29 percent between 2017 and 2018. Health officials saw another age-related shift as well: in 2017, people between 35 and 44 were the most likely age group to die of a drug overdose. In 2018, people between 45 and 54 were at “the most dangerous age” for drug overdoses, health department spokesman James Garrow said.

https://www.philly.com/health/opioid-overdose-deaths-philadelphia-20190514.html

By Aubrey Whelan

KYW

Philadelphia has made a tiny bit of progress in combating overdose deaths. The official death toll for last year was 1,116 people, which is 100 less than in 2017.

The city has mounted a three-pronged attack on overdose deaths: getting more of the overdose-reversing drug Naloxone in circulation, getting more people into treatment and getting doctors to prescribe fewer opioids.

https://kywnewsradio.radio.com/articles/news/overdose-deaths-philadelphia-decline-first-time-five-years-remain-crisis-levels

By Pat Loeb

PhillyVoice

he Philadelphia Department of Public Health found that the number of overdose deaths in the city dropped by more than 100 in 2018, marking a decline of 8% over the previous year.

Figures released on Tuesday show that there were 1,116 overdose deaths last year, down from 1,217 in 2017. While modest, the number is encouraging compared to the 34% increase from 907 deaths in 2016 to 2017.

https://www.phillyvoice.com/philadelphia-overdose-deaths-decline-heroin-fentanyl-treatment/

By Michael Tanenbaum

Greenberg Case

James Garrow, spokesman for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, which oversees the Medical Examiner’s Office, said he cannot release additional information about the investigation into Greenberg’s death. These investigations are protected under privacy laws and all the office is required to release is the name, cause and manner of death, he said.

But he noted, “In this particular case, the medical examiner must have felt there was sufficient evidence to feel that the decedent in this case had the intention of committing suicide.”

He said officials with the Medical Examiner’s Office have spoken with a private investigator for the Greenberg family and said they would reopen Ellen Greenberg’s case if some new evidence is presented to warrant that, but that has not yet happened.

https://www.pennlive.com/news/2019/05/suicide-or-homicide-parents-anguished-search-for-answers-lasts-years-after-daughter-dies-of-20-stab-wounds.html

By Steve Marroni

Naloxone Availability

In Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania contacted pharmacies in zip codes with high rates of heroin possession in 2016, and found that 40 percent of the pharmacies they contacted stocked the drug, said Jim Garrow, a spokesman for the city’s health department. Pharmacy students from the University of the Sciences later launched an education campaign at dozens of local pharmacies. In early 2018, about 75 percent of the city’s pharmacies were carrying Narcan — and by the end of the year, Mayor Jim Kenney had signed a law requiring every pharmacy in the city to stock it.

https://www.philly.com/news/narcan-availability-pharmacies-new-jersey-20190506.html

By Aubrey Whelan

St Joe’s Dining Hall Inspection

James Garrow, director of communications for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, said individuals who have concerns about the cleanliness of a facility are encouraged to contact the city’s Office of Food Protection.

“Whenever anyone eats at any facility inspected by the health department, including university dining halls, they should keep an eye out for things that don’t feel or look right or clean,” Garrow said.

http://www.sjuhawknews.com/campion-dining-hall-not-in-satisfactory-compliance/

By Erin Breen

School District Exclusion Over Vaccines

James Garrow, a spokesperson for the city health department, said that to prevent the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases like measles and mumps, high percentages of children should receive the required immunizations on schedule. Philadelphia is in better shape than many other communities, Garrow said, because about 95 percent of its students have received one dose of a vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella, and 75 percent have received two doses.

“The School District of Philadelphia has policies to enforce the requirement that children receive their recommended immunizations, and the Department of Public Health is working with the School District to assess and maintain high levels of immunization coverage at individual schools,” Garrow said in a statement.

https://www.philly.com/education/vaccines-public-school-philadelphia-pennsylvania-exclude-20190425.html

By Kristen Graham

Stimulant Overdoses

The report also found that sales of amphetamines, such as Adderall, a popular ADHD drug, increased by 617 percent between 2000 and 2017 in Philadelphia, and pharmaceutical companies that make stimulants are spending more on free meals for doctors, presumably to bring their attention to the product.

https://www.philly.com/health/methamphetamine-cocaine-stimulant-overdose-death-philadelphia-20190423.html

By Aubrey Whelan