Concerns Over Benzene Exposure in South Portland, Maine

benzene exposure

The residents of South Portland, Maine have long known that their community was impacted by the presence of the fossil fuel industry, but there’s a difference between being aware of tankers coming and going and hearing that the area’s residents have experienced high levels of benzene exposure. That is exactly what is going on, and now people from all over the area want answers to their questions about the risks to their health.

The residents of South Portland, Maine have long known that their community was impacted by the presence of the fossil fuel industry, but there’s a difference between being aware of tankers coming and going and hearing that the area’s residents have experienced high levels of benzene exposure. That is exactly what is going on, and now people from all over the area want answers to their questions about the risks to their health.

Fears About Benzene Exposure Grow With Evidence of Benzene Spikes

In presenting the results of the air monitoring program to concerned residents, chemist Danielle Twomey from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection demonstrated reasons for real concern about benzene exposure, as well as exposure to other chemicals that can cause harm to human health. Of 13 different air samples, two quick samples taken in July registered 5.8 and 8 times the level that the state set as safe. Those samples were taken within a mile of the storage tanks and represented what was known as grabs, only measuring the air at a given moment in time. Other spikes were measured at 4.75 times the guidelines and were particularly alarming because rather than being grabs they were taken over a 24-hour period. This means that their level represented an average: at times during the day the levels were much higher than the overall number.

Benzene exposure has been linked to immediate effects such as dizziness, headaches, tremors and breathing difficulties, and the CDC says that “long-term exposure to high levels of benzene in the air can cause leukemia, cancer of the blood-forming organs.”

Author: Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor, and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.