Is It Safe To Live Near An Oil Refinery?

Living near an oil refinery is associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer, according to a new study by the US health agency CDC. According to the study, 10% of refineries in the United States emit cancer - and cause benzene - and a recent study by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) showed that 10 of them emit it into the air at a rate of 1,000 parts per billion.
 
Some of the people who are at increased risk of cancer from refinery pollution are people of color. The study reports that more than a million African Americans live just a few miles from oil and gas facilities and are at higher risk for bladder cancer and other cancers such as lung cancer.
 
When the authors looked at the proximity of refineries, they found that 54 percent of people living in counties near refineries in Michigan, Louisiana, and Pennsylvania were African-American, 53 percent in Louisiana, and 54 percent in Tennessee, above the national average of 40 percent of all U.S. counties.
 
They found that those living in counties near refineries in Michigan, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas lived at a higher rate than the national average for all U.S. counties.  Beware if you are buying a home near an oil and gas refinery
 
People living near oil and gas wells are at increased risk of health effects, including cancer, according to the findings. A previous study in Colorado found that children diagnosed with leukemia were more likely to live in dense areas near an oil or gas well. Several studies have shown that living in areas with high concentrations of oil, gas, or coal is associated with an increased risk of health damage.
 
Environmental authorities claim that people living near chemical plants are at risk of contamination, disease, and exposure. For example, a million people living near a refinery would have a significantly reduced risk of cancer, according to the EPA. In many cases, people living near refineries and other industrial facilities know that they can be dangerous, but they do not always have evidence, "says Dr. Michael Siegel, head of the Office of Toxic Substances and Disease Control at the Federal Environment Agency.
 
This is one of the first studies to collect and analyze data on the large Swedish population living near oil refineries. Data from 36 studies showed that workers in oil refineries were more than twice as likely to develop mesothelioma as non-workers. A study of 1.5 million people who worked in the industry for at least a year between 1946 and 1971 found an increase in asbestos-related diseases such as lung, lung, and cancer.
 
One community highlighted in this report is West Port Arthur, Texas, which is surrounded by several petrochemical plants, including the largest oil refinery in the world, owned by Texas - Valero. Nearly a million African Americans live within a mile of the site, and more than half of them live near the refinery, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
   
More than 80 percent of the releases come from Shell's oil refinery, the second-largest in the United States after Houston. A municipality is a city that is 95 percent black and has two oil refineries that process about 1.5 million barrels of crude oil a day. Texas is the third and most polluted state in terms of air quality, and 27 reported releasing 10 million pounds of toxic pollution into the air in 2010, according to the EPA. [Sources: 16, 19, 20]
 
The state's highest carbon dioxide emitting refinery, Exxon Mobil's Corpus Christi refinery, was closed in June after an explosion and fire broke out. The refinery released more than 1.5 million pounds of toxic air pollution a day, according to EPA figures. A study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has analyzed the cancer risk of oil refinery workers.

Two communities 2.5 kilometers behind the refinery were classified as refinery exhaust gases. Children are also at risk, according to the Texas Department of Public Health and Human Services (DHS). Like nuclear plants, fracking wells, and refineries, those who actually live near these sites are quick to say that they do so only if they believe the site is safe.
 
Working in a petrochemical plant, refinery, or oil field can put their lives at risk, as can the dangers that most people who work in refineries face while they are at work. It is possible to be exposed to dangerous chemicals and, as a result, to suffer health problems, and workers in refineries tend to be exposed to hazards such as the few mentioned above, which can lead to cancer, heart disease, respiratory problems, kidney failure, and even death. Koons has spent most of his life dealing with the dangers of the refinery, having lived near the Carson plant for three decades. He has also lived near a number of other oil and gas facilities in the Los Angeles area.

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