Monday, February 28, 2011

Benzene Contamination a Concern For Homes 100 Yards from Gas Stations

Benzene is a concern for home owners
in close proximity to gas stations
by Duane Craig

Properties near gas stations might start seeing increased scrutiny for air contamination because of the benzene that off-gases from gasoline.

Why Is Benzene A Concern?

Benzene is notorious for concentrating at higher levels inside buildings. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), of the Centers for Disease Control, benzene is widely available in outdoor air which can average 6 micrograms per cubic foot and is almost always higher inside than out. Benzene levels are especially high in buildings with smokers and with attached garages. Most people get more exposure to benzene from the air they breathe than from food, beverages or water. According to one report, the University of Murcia in Spain found benzene contamination in homes 100 yards away from filling stations.

Benzene is higher during seasons when buildings are less ventilated and ATSDR also points out those living close to gas stations may be getting more than their fair share of the substance. The substance has been shown to be absorbed through skin and those living near contaminated sites where the benzene is in the water can inhale it when they shower, cook or do laundry.

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