Exxon Mobil to test air in homes near Mont. spill

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BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) -- Officials will gather indoor air samples from homes downstream of a Yellowstone River oil spill after residents complained of being sickened by fumes from the crude.

Steve Merritt, with the Environmental Protection Agency, said Thursday that the air samples will be collected by contractors for the agency and for Exxon Mobil Corp.

The Texas-based company operated the pipeline that spilled an estimated 1,000 barrels of oil into the river.

Some residents say the fumes have caused them to become nauseas, dizzy and short of breath. But health officials say those symptoms are likely to ease as the chemicals in the oil evaporate or break down.

Laboratory results from the air testing are expected to take about a week. Merritt says Exxon Mobil's contractors will collect duplicate samples so their results can be verified by government scientists.