Gas Stations Vent Far More Toxic Fumes Than Previously Thought

Written by Dr. Joseph Mercola

Vapors coming from gas station vent pipes are 10 times more toxic than originally thought, according to a study done by environmental health scientists at Columbia University. One of the toxins in the vapors is benzene, a known carcinogen.

“In addition, even during a relatively short study period, we saw a number of instances in which people could be exposed to the chemical at locations beyond the setback distance of 300 feet,” said Markus Hilpert, associate professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia Mailman School, in a news release.

“Officials should reconsider their regulations based on these data with particular attention to the possibility of short spikes in emissions resulting from regular operations or improper procedures related to fuel deliveries and the use of pollution prevention technology,” Hilpert added.

Once again, the air you breathe is way more polluted than you think. As the world waits for the transition from gas and diesel to less noxious ways of fueling our vehicles, the only thing we can do is try to protect ourselves in the best way possible, as the quality of our air affects our overall health.

There is an upside, albeit not as “up” as you’d like, and that is that because of studies like Columbia’s — and the subsequent environmental regulations — it’s likely the air you see and breathe right now is cleaner than it was decades ago. That said, it appears that, as levels of “dirty” air pollution decrease, particulate pollution from ozone rises.

Another problem is that indoor air pollution is real, too. Two primary sources of indoor air pollution are the materials used to construct the building and everything in it, and chemical products you bring into your home, such as hairspray and room deodorizers. Many of these sources release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) with short-term and long-term health effects.

Formaldehyde, arsenic, flame-retardant chemicals and phthalates are all toxic threats to your indoor environment. This is why we all need to take steps to improve our air. One of the simplest and easiest ways to reduce the pollution count in your home is to open the windows.

Another inexpensive method of removing toxins from both your home and your workplace is to simply decorate with plants. See my previous article, “12 Healthy Houseplants That Improve Your Indoor Air Quality,” for a list of plants you may consider your home.

Good filtration systems are necessary, as well, and that means filtering both your water and your air, and vacuuming your floors regularly with a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner.

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