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Pungent Smell In Carson Still Under Investigation, Officials Say It's Not Lethal

CARSON (CBSLA) -- A pungent smell throughout the Carson area is continuing to concern residents.

It has been around for days now, and despite officials saying it's not lethal, some are worried it could be making them sick.

"It's not good to smell it's kinda starting to get a little worrisome," Carson resident Halima Tillmon said.

Others have said the smell, likely coming from the Dominguez Channel, reminds them of rotten eggs.

After numerous complaints and calls from Carson city leaders, teams from the county Public Works, health department, air quality management, and fire officials have launched an investigation looking into the odor.

Officials have been taking air samples for testing, finding that the smell is "not lethal or deadly," according to L.A. County Fire Department Capt. Roberto Ruiz.

"We're going to further investigate with our partners," Ruiz said.

County investigators said early reports show low levels of hydrogen sulfite -- a gas that is released when vegetation decays -- in the water. According to officials, exposure to small amounts does not pose long-term health problems, though it may make people nauseous, dizzy or develop headaches.

"It naturally occurs with sewage and it could have been runoff from the recent storms," Ruiz said. "It could have been there just sitting with some older stuff and possibly releasing a strong odor."

More than 200 residents have already called to report feeling sick after breathing in the stinky air. People that spoke to CBSLA said they'll be spending time indoors, until the air outside doesn't make them queasy.

"I'm trying to stay out of it as much as possible," Carson resident Pamela Jackson Henderson said. "It kinda makes me want to avoid the areas. I have second thought about coming here today because I knew the smell was right."

Carson Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes said she's expecting a report on the smell investigation by Tuesday.


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