Pipelines Leaking Benzene in Houston Communities

Benzene — a chemical known to cause acute myeloid leukemia (AML) or myelodysplastic syndrome — has been detected in troubling levels in the air in neighborhoods near Houston, Texas. Scientists guessed that the elevated benzene levels originated from the oil refineries lining the Houston Ship Channel. That’s where petroleum product producers load and unload benzene-containing crude oil from barges and tanks. Researchers were surprised to learn that much of the benzene is coming from the pipelines that carry the crude oil.

Researchers Publish Study Demonstrating Location of Elevated Benzene Levels Near Houston in Same Area as Crude Oil Pipelines

In February 2015, researchers with the Houston Advanced Research Center began tracing the source of elevated benzene levels in the Manchester and Galena Park neighborhoods on the east side of Houston. The levels of benzene found were alarming — they far exceeded safe long-term exposure limits and were very close to unsafe levels for short-term benzene exposure.

Using three vans outfitted with high tech equipment capable of measuring toxic vapors in the air, researchers drove around the area. Relying on weather data, computers pinpointed probable sources for the benzene in the air. When the scientists superimposed a map of the areas with significantly elevated benzene levels onto a graphic showing the location of the existing pipelines, it was plain to see that the benzene spikes ran along top of the pipelines. Eduardo Olaguer, who led the research team, was surprised by the findings. A map showing the location of the crude oil pipelines and the benzene spikes has been published in the February 2016 issue of the Journal of the Air and Waste Management Association.

Olaguer described the research as a “wake-up call” for Texas regulators. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality reportedly will review and analyze the researchers’ study.

Contact Waters Kraus Paul & Siegel to Learn More About Filing a Benzene Lawsuit

The lawyers at Waters Kraus Paul & Siegel have been representing people who have been sickened by toxic exposures for more than twenty years. Have you or a loved one been exposed to benzene and diagnosed with AML or MDS? We can help you hold those responsible for your cancer accountable. Call us at 800.226.9880 to speak with our benzene attorneys, like Gibbs Henderson and David Humen in our Dallas office, to learn more about how we can assist you with a benzene lawsuit.

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