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May 2, 2010 12:20 PM by Letitia Walker

EPA Monitoring Air Closely

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The Environmental Protection Agency says it's

stepping up air quality monitoring on the Gulf Coast.

      There are concerns that vapors from the oil and controlled fires

might cause health problems for people living in the region. An oil

smell could cause headaches or nausea, but EPA spokesman Dave Bary

said Saturday there have been no confirmed reports of such

problems.

      State health agencies are advising people having such symptoms

to stay indoors and ventilate their homes with air conditioning.

      Crude oil gives off gaseous vapors. But Jonathan Ward, an

environmental toxicology professor at the University of Texas

Medical Branch at Galveston, says the vapors likely will be mostly

dispersed by brisk sea breezes by the time they reach shore.

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