April 11, 2008 at 4:08 pm #3699
Study: Richmond Refinery Pollution Stays In Homes
Environment & The Green Beat
CBS5 4/11/08, RICHMOND (BCN) ? Results from a toxics exposure study released Saturday found that harmful pollutants from Chevron’s Richmond refinery were getting trapped inside people’s homes, researchers said.
Researchers from University of California, Berkeley, Brown University, Silent Spring Institute and Communities for a Better Environment took air samples in the summer of 2006 from inside and outside homes in Bolinas, where there is no nearby source of industrial pollution, and homes in two Richmond communities that border the refinery.
Scientists conducting the study, “Linking Breast Cancer Advocacy and Environmental Justice,” analyzed air samples from 40 homes in Richmond’s Atchison and Liberty villages and 10 in Bolinas. The samples were tested for the presence of 155 chemicals known to cause cancer in laboratory animals, respiratory diseases and endocrine system disorders, said Rachel Morello-Frosch, an associate professor at UC Berkeley’s Department of Environmental Science and Policy Management and the School of Public Health.
Nearly half the homes tested in Richmond had inside levels of particulate matter known to come from oil refining that exceeded California’s air quality standards, Morello-Frosch said.
Jessica Tovar, a community organizer with Communities for a Better Environment, an Oakland-based environmental justice organization, said particulate matter in Richmond also comes from diesel traffic at the nearby rail yard and on highways that run through the communities.
While the study found that the levels of particulate matter inside people’s homes were directly correlated to outdoor levels, only a small percentage of outdoor levels of particulate matter exceeded the state’s standard.
Levels of other chemicals known to come from oil refineries, including sulfates and vanadium, a heavy metal known to cause cancer and respiratory problems in laboratory rats, were also significantly higher in Richmond than they were in Bolinas both indoors and outdoors, according to the data.
One of the problems is that the standards only apply to outdoor air, according to Tovar. Indoor air quality is not regulated.
The findings also call into question the effectiveness of Contra Costa County’s emergency response plan, which warns residents to go inside, close their doors and windows and shelter-in-place when there is an upset at the refinery that could potentially impact residents, Tovar said.
Levels of indoor pollutants that came from consumer products were similar in Richmond and Bolinas homes, but some of the results surprised Bolinas residents, who had thought their exposure levels would be lower than they were found to be, Tovar said.
The tests turned up chemicals found in household cleaners, including ammonia, and even trace levels of DDT, an insecticide that was banned in 1972 and classified a “probable human carcinogen.”
The ban followed the 1962 publication of Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring,” which drew a link between the widespread use of pesticides and their impact on wildlife, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The Silent Spring Institute, one of the participants in the study, is named for Carson’s book. The institute, based in Newton, Mass., is a partnership of scientists, physicians and public health advocates dedicated to finding the links between environmental pollutants and women’s health, especially breast cancer.
Many of the chemicals tested for in the study are thought to cause breast cancer in humans, theories supported by toxicological studies on animals, but the link has yet to be scientifically proven, Morello-Frosch said.
April 11, 2008 at 4:14 pm #6934
You can always trust the liberal media to get the true point wrong or give miss-leading view that it is oil industry’s fault when it comes to pollution! This article is trying to make point that all pollutants trapped in the houses can be sourced to industrial pollution, and that several are responsible for cancer in lab animals. The conclusion your are led to is that air legislation needs to account for increased concentration caused/found in homes, and that large number of these are actually cancer causing agents …… no scientific proof of course & only brief mention of all the other sources at work inside a home.
The truth completely hidden here is that EPA / Environmentalist have know for years from other studies that homes anywhere in US often contain 20 times as much pollution as any outside industrial region. It is because of the closed air systems that re-circulate a wide range of chemicals from household cleaners, air fresheners / scented candles, perfumes, pesticides and others that they briefly allude too. But this doesn’t fit the profile for going after industry & they would have to change the attack profile from industry to private homeowners / wide array of sources that would alienate their support base for a lot of their stupid legislation …… besides make a mockery of any outside air pollution until the inside air pollution has been fixed.
I have several examples that never got traction in liberal media – the EPA attack on “asbestos” insulation nearly bankrupt our school system because the hysteria Environmentalist/EPA stirred up about 8 out of every 10 schools had pay remove plain fiberglass insulation to folks in has-mat suits just to calm their parents down. The hundreds of thousands of dollars that were wasted in this effort from budgets that were struggling to meet school budgets was criminal and of course never reported upon.
Most people feel the EPA / Environmental attack on lead paint was huge success that saved thousands of children from lead poisining. Truth Truth is it probably exposed significantly more than were at risk. Studies by independent groups showed that the sand blasting reduced the paint particles to size that often remained in the air/heat ducts of homes for years (and was one first groups reporting on high levels of indoor air pollution compared to outside – but was quickly buried by EPA). Additionally the outside paint was often left to mix in with soil leading to higher level of ingestion by children, plants and animals in that area. No one actually monitored where the sand & lead paint particles were disposed of – so many were dumped alongside stream beds or near highway locations. I firmly believe that EPA attach on the lead in Gasoline was attempt to cover up why some area levels did not show significant decrease in water run-off or residents near highways (they also omitted that a lot of older homes/apartments with lead paint were also located near roads/highways).
I believe in time we will find that taking lead out of gasoline was an unnecessary step in removing major sources from population contact. And if lead in these levels was such a disaster why isn’t any of the Environmental or EPA groups stopping imports from China where everything from Children’s toys to food sources are dripping with lead contamination – we will not mention that nearly all gasoline imports contain some lead = around the 8 ppm level (similar our first unleaded contained during the phase-out period US) because they still use lead & have cross contamination.
<And of all the lead sources chased to extinction in US – why the hell has EPA/Environmentalist never chased the several ounces of lead weights on car/truck tires that have been falling off along streets / roads / highways for over 40 years now without causing problems? Excuse is that lead is often used to contain corrosive acids and that these are not airborne gases at ppm levels but several ounces of solid material that will just be swept up or buried in soil – fact is lead can be completely be dissolved by most organic acids so wouldn’t you think they would lot more impact than 10ppm lead in gasoline???>
I think it would be worth CVX’s time (and all other refiners for that matter) to do little research on true sources of indoor pollution, just how high they are compared to outside air & ask why EPA & Environmental have never taken up this serious health threat & continue to hound industrial applications that have levels which are below detection limits of modern lab equipment & must often be calculated based on raw material properties!!
The public needs to know about not only failures and serious flaws in EPA/Environmental track records but the high cost all their programs impose on public. Have you heard ANYONE even consider them as source for gasoline cost (no MTBE = +$0.50/gal cost, LS Fuels = +$0.7-11/gal, Methanol = $0.30-50/gal considering lost mpg/higher use & subsidized cost from taxes), or eliminating our refining system (impossible to get new refinery permitted for last +33 years & New Source approach eliminates return on projects), and having over 14 different LS fuel spec’s make it impossible to have a fungible US transportation fuel. We don’t even have to mention lost opportunity for the worlds 4th largest crude producer (USA) to add reserves because of exempted Alaska & off-shore regions that are somehow ok for being explored by foreign competitors??
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