Wednesday, November 13, 2013

benzene exposure

October 25 2013 Crude Unit malfunction.

Offsite benzene detected at 0.015 ppm or 15 ppb.

Reported release of 200 barrels of crude oil and estimated total benzene release in range of 12 – 120 pounds.  Benzene is a known carcinogen.

Residents were told there were no issues, everything was ok, yet Valero's report indicates they monitored workers for exposure.  No one notified the community about the health risks.
"The federal Clean Air Act mandates refineries to limit Benzene releases to 10 pounds per accident and this value is upheld by the Louisiana Department of Environment Quality. Benzene is proven to cause cancer in people. Exposure to Benzene can interrupt the bone marrow’s process of creating red blood cells and is proven to cause leukemia and anemia."

"Benzene is a chemical that is known to cause cancer in humans. Breathing high levels of benzene and chronic exposure to benzene vapors can cause irritation of the respiratory tract, drowsiness, dizziness, rapid heart rate, headaches, tremors, confusion, and unconsciousness." 

ATSDR Minimal Risk Level = 0.003 ppm (chronic) or 3 ppb benzene
. OSHA standards for workers:  
Short-term exposure limit (STEL). The employer shall assure that no employee is exposed to an airborne concentration of benzene in excess of five (5) ppm as averaged over any 15 minute period.

The employer shall establish a regulated area wherever the airborne concentration of benzene exceeds or can reasonably be expected to exceed the permissible exposure limits, either the 8-hour time weighted average exposure of 1 ppm or the short-term exposure limit of 5 ppm for 15 minutes.

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