Dr. Gene Dorio | It Doesn’t Smell Right

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

Thank you for the recent articles concerning health problems surrounding the Chiquita Canyon Landfill.

Bad odors emanating from the landfill have occurred for decades but have become progressively worse recently.

Scientists from the Air Quality Management District and EPA have not clarified the etiology of these smells, as technology and scientific data are lacking, but symptoms in residents attributed to these odors are increasing, so we should be suspicious.

The evidence is more profound, anecdotally, especially in one of my patients, who resides in Val Verde adjacent to the landfill and built her home there over 30 years ago.

She has suffered from post-polio syndrome since childhood, periodically using an in-home ventilator for breathing. She and her caregiver daughter have not noticed any unusual odors, but many neighbors have, and complained of dizziness, headaches and respiratory problems.

For the past several years, she has had more frequent respiratory infections, including pneumonia. There have been recurring hospitalizations, with the most recent forcing her into a specialty rehab center as she is utilizing the ventilator all the time and, therefore, cannot yet return to her home in Val Verde.

Even though she has not noticed odors, could she have been subjected to unknown exposure and is more sensitive, like a “canary in the coal mine”?

Certainly, we don’t know all the answers, but cannot dismiss those asking questions. Experts should investigate these odors, and we should not ignore other vastly profound problems affecting the groundwater and the newly discovered fire deep inside the landfill.

Hearing the response of the independent report mentioned in The Signal articles concluding “that there are no adverse long-term health risks to local residents” literally contains a bad odor.

Just ask my patient.

Dr. Gene Dorio


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