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Supported by Dr. Sheryll Jerez Background Information

By James Mcmullen, Cheryl Scott, Quentin Silva and Victor Chavez


Benzene, which is a known carcinogen, is one of the main components in gasoline that the public is concerned about. In addition, benzene is a colorless liquid, which evaporates quickly when exposed to air (American Cancer Society, 2013). Benzene concentrations “can range from about 0.1–2.0 ppb in rural areas to 6.0–20 ppb in major US cities ” (Keenan, 2013, p.1007). Short-term effects of “inhalation exposure of humans to benzene may cause drowsiness, dizziness, headaches, as well as eye, skin, and respiratory tract irritation, and, at high levels, unconsciousness ” (EPA). In addition, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that the long-term effects from benzene “inhalation exposure has caused various disorders in the blood, including reduced numbers of red blood cells and aplastic anemia, in occupational settings. ” As a result, some gas stations have installed vapor recovery systems to their gas pumps to limit their costumers ’ exposure to gasoline vapors when pumping gas (Hakkola and Saarinen, 2000, p. 677-680). Further, a study was done in which researchers performed a study to see if long-term exposure to benzene vapors from gasoline could influence hematopoietic malignancies, and their results confirmed this (Patel et al., 2004, p. 497-503). The EPA has the acceptable concentration of benzene set at an “annual average benzene content of 0.62%vol in gasoline (reformulated and conventional) nationwide.” The general public will benefit from this work because people are exposed to benzene on a regular basis by pumping gas. The objectives are to compare benzene concentrations from two gas stations as well as the atmospheric conditions at the time of data collection

Year: 2016
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