Sunday, October 23, 2022

California stoves and pipes are leaking benzene, a cancer-causing gas, according to new study

Researchers say more study is needed to understand how and why many California homes are subject to leaks of cancer-causing benzene.

That conclusion came from a study that found benzene was leaking in many homes equipped with gas stoves, according to an Associated Press story this week by Drew Costley.

The study, published in Environmental Science and Technology, also estimated that more than four tons of benzene — the equivalent to the benzene emissions from nearly 60,000 vehicles — are also leaking each year "into the atmosphere from outdoor pipes that deliver gas to buildings" around the state.

Measurements, which came from gas samples from 159 homes in different regions of the state, detailed "what types of gases were being emitted into homes when stoves were off." 

Also found were other hazardous air pollutants, like toluene and xylene, which can have "adverse health effects in humans with chronic exposure or acute exposure in larger amounts."

Benzene was of most concern because it's "a known carcinogen that can lead to leukemia and other cancers and blood disorders, according to the National Cancer Institute," the story reports.

California has the second highest level of residential natural gas use in the United States.

Drew Michanowicz
Costley's article quotes Drew Michanowicz, a study co-author and senior scientist at PSE Health Energy, an energy and research policy institute, to the effect that he hopes "policymakers will consider this data when they are making policy, to ensure current and future policies are health-protective."

The Greater Los Angeles, North San Fernando Valley, and San Clarita areas, according to the study, had the highest benzene in gas levels. 

More information on cancer-causing agents can be found in "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," a VitalityPress book that I, Woody Weingarten, aimed at male caregivers.

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