New Clues Revealed in Springfield Spots

SPRINGFIELD, Fla. - Florida's Department of Environmental Protection issued a statement Wednesday offering new clues about the cause of mysterious brown spots that appeared on cars and buildings in Springfield.

News 13 first told you about the incident shortly after it happened in April. 

"The identification of an unknown substance in multiple environments (meaning varying circumstances must be accounted for, such as did one home fertilize their lawn and one spray for mosquitos) can be challenging. The type of material collected (water, soil, etc.) or amount that can be collected can also make analysis more complicated," Brandy M. Smith, an external affairs manager with DEP wrote. "In this case, because of the size of the spots themselves, the samples collected were very small - in fact the material of several spots from the same object had to be combined to generate a sample large enough to test."

Officials worked with local factories to determine if the spots came from them.

"To date we have analyzed samples for more than 122 chemicals and compounds, including priority organic pollutants. We have looked for the presence, or absence, of chemicals we might expect to see from activities or sources in the area. And then we checked to see if any of those chemicals were found consistently in the various samples collected," Smith wrote. "To help identify the chemicals to test for, we reviewed permits and contacted the major operating facilities in the immediate area. For example, based on a chemical data sheet supplied by WestRock, we tested for sulfur containing compounds – which we would expect to see in spent pulping liquor. The analysis did not detect any sulfur containing compounds."

However, the most recent lab analysis detected "a small amount of permethrin, a common insecticide used for mosquito control, but only in two of the three samples."

The analysis did not detect any other pesticides or petroleum. 

Finally, this appears to be a one-time incident.

"The reports we have at this time indicate that the material was deposited on or around the night of Wednesday, April 12. We have not received any reports of new material since that time," Smith wrote. "If any new material is discovered, we encourage residents to contact our Panama City Office at 850-872-4375 right away so we can collect samples for laboratory analysis in an attempt to identify or rule out possible sources and contaminants, including naturally occurring ones." 


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