Monday, February 12, 2007

I Love the Smell of Benzene in the Morning.

It smells like...cancer.

From the Oregonian

A big sigh of relief for NW air

The EPA cracks down on cancer-causing benzene in gasoline with limits that will cut health risks in half

Saturday, February 10, 2007

New federal limits announced Friday on cancer-causing benzene in the Northwest's gasoline supply will sharply curb toxic exhaust fumes that rise to dangerous levels in local air.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued the tougher limits on refineries under escalating pressure from Northwest lawmakers including U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who blocked top agency appointments to bring attention to the health risk.

It was a turnaround for the federal agency, which last year proposed controls that would have reduced benzene nationally but allowed refineries to trade credits in a way that would have left the Northwest with the dirtiest gas in the country.

I breathe easier knowing that an established carcinogen has not only been floating around without our knowledge, but that these benefits will be twice as safe come 2015. Wow! Good thing I am already getting old. My daughter is the one who took the real brunt here. Why smoke when your lungs can mutate with second-hand benzene instead?

I realize this kind of stuff happens in the big, bad world so I try to not get worked up about it. However, the cost to have avoided this is reportedly very small.

From's Autopia Blog

Refineries didn't balk at the rule change as the cost of removing the benzene is less than a quarter of a cent per gallon. So why was the EPA so slow to act on an obvious health risk? As someone whose health is directly affected by this rule, I'm not happy that the EPA allowed this emission omission.

The EPA also ordered automakers to enhance their fuel lines so that less benzene would escape, a change that will cost about $1 per vehicle.

This could have gone so much differently in a world of responsible people.

1. The EPA detects the problem and notifies the parties creating the problem and the expectations for cleaning it up as well as the public (this is an open society after all).

2. Within a week, the companies announce to reduce harmful emissions or steps to figure out how to reduce emissions within a time limit set by the EPA.

3. The company sets up a web page that outlines the progress in reducing harmful emissions that is included in a joint press release between the company and the EPA.

4. As goals are met, the EPA charts recognizes the progress and even gives awards for excellent progress.

5. Benzene levels go down to a safe level.

When the EPA sits on the information, the companies poisoning us lobby for them to cover it up and ignore it, then action is only taken when their hand is caught in the cookie jar with no apology or apparent willingness to clean up without compulsion, then you have a pretty good indication that we DO NOT live in a world of responsible people. When people act this way, they are begging for more government interference. My suggestion to those companies and individuals who want the government out of their lives is to stop the lying, cheating, and stealing.

The government is much better at all of those functions anyway.

Finally, congratulations to the Dean Wormer for one year of blogging. Since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I kinda stole his format today.


Swinebread said...

I was gonna’ say something witty and funny but... I'm so tired of big business F-ing us over.

ladybug said...

You are awesome possum! I'm just wondering how bad Seattle is w/the traffic they have there...

Pandabonium said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pandabonium said...

Good grief. Foxes watching the chicken house - again.

By the way, Ladybug, my most recent post about the IQ of presidents turned out to be based on a hoax, so I took it down - but after some thought I put it back up, because it COULD be true.

I don't feel too bad. Apparently, Gary Trudeau as well as the London Observer also fell for it.

The Moody Minstrel said...

...then you have a pretty good indication that we DO NOT live in a world of responsible people.

No, that's just not true! These people are being very responsible...toward protecting Big Oil from whackos who give a damn.

You mean gasoline has been laced with benzene all this time and thus far the only gripes have been about lead and sulfur emissions?

Dean Wormer said...

I think you may have botched that quote.


For some reason that story in the Big O made me think of the EPA covering up the threat of toxins in the air in New York after the 9/11 attacks.

Of course there are counter-studies showing Benzene is really not dangerous. If there aren't then industry will soon finance them.

Ladybug - I wonder if Seattle might be a bit better. Even though it's got more traffic it is right on the sound.

Anonymous said...

Benzene Spmemzene. The additive they put in jet fuel to prevent fungus growing in the fuel tanks is even more lethal. I can't remember the name of the one I was thinking of but after checking the web, its amazing the stuff they put in there.