Regional air quality officials told the Irwindale City Council on Wednesday that the solution to complaints of spicy odors emanating from a Sriracha factory could be "very straightforward."
Sam Atwood, a spokesman for the Air Quality Management District, said the agency doesn't usually get involved with cases in which there has been no air quality violation, but this was a special case that had ramifications for the regional economy.
Dr. Paul Rosenfeld, an environmental chemist with SWAPE, a Santa Monica consulting firm, presented his research about the smell on behalf of the city. He said it's possible that the smell is affecting fewer people at certain times because of certain weather conditions and air patterns above the factory.
Sriracha sauce contains garlic, which is sulfurous; peppers, which contain capsacin; and vinegar, which is acidic, Rosenfeld said. The harmful odors fill the factory's large empty spaces and are released intermittently into the surrounding community, Rosenfeld said.
"These odors change over time depending on what's going on," Rosenfeld argued.
Few people at the meeting could agree about whether the smell was harmful, and arguments broke out frequently outside the council chambers.
"I have been operating for 33 years and now I'm opening my doors for everyone," Tran said. "People should just come and see."