In New Hanover County, thousands of people are at risk of being exposed to methyl bromide. That’s an odorless, colorless, toxic gas used in log fumigation. Logs have to be treated before they can be shipped overseas. The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality is changing its regulations involving methyl bromide.
Royal Pest Solutions operates two facilities that are permitted to use the chemical in New Hanover County -- on Burnett Boulevard and River Road in Wilmington.
DEQ is proposing a rule that applies to these log-fumigation facilities. It calls for a 90 percent capture-and-control of the chemical and to establish an acceptable ambient level range of no more than 0.005 milligrams per cubic meter. That means after fumigation, almost no gas would be allowed into the atmosphere where it could drift into neighborhoods.
Dr. Robert Parr is an emergency medicine specialist in Wilmington, and on the Board of Medical Advocates for Healthy Air - Clean Air Carolina.
“The proposed regulations are scientifically sound. The science advisory board has found that they are needed at this time to protect residents from low level concentration of methyl bromide, that drifts over the fence line of the fumigation site.”
The public comment period on the proposed regulations has been extended to August 30. Vince Winkel, WHQR News.