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Regulators require stricter controls to curb leaks from oil tanks

2 min read

Southern California air regulators voted unanimously to adopt more stringent rules to monitor and curb smog-forming pollution from fuel storage tanks at oil refineries and other facilities, reports Tony Briscoe for the Los Angeles Times.

In a nutshell:

The South Coast Air Quality Management District voted to amend current regulations, requiring more stringent vapor controls for storage tanks holding crude oil, gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other petroleum products. These measures address emissions of volatile organic compounds, including cancer-causing benzene, released when vapors escape from these tanks. The rules also mandate the installation of domes on floating-roof tanks and weekly monitoring for leaks using thermal or infrared cameras. These regulations will apply to over 1,000 tanks at approximately 30 Southern California facilities and are expected to reduce daily VOC emissions by one ton.

Key quote:

“This tanks regulation is really a major step forward to cut not only smog-forming VOCs but cancer-causing benzene, and it’s a big rule that sets a model for other parts of the state and the country,” said Julia May, senior scientist with Communities for a Better Environment.

The big picture:

Exposure to emissions of volatile organic compounds can have a range of potential health effects. VOCs, which encompass various easily evaporated chemicals, may include carcinogenic substances such as benzene. Prolonged or high-level exposure to VOCs can lead to respiratory problems and irritations, exacerbating conditions like asthma. These compounds can react with other pollutants, contributing to the formation of smog and ground-level ozone, which pose significant respiratory risks. VOC exposure can also result in headaches, dizziness, and eye and throat irritation.

Read the article at the Los Angeles Times.

Many Americans live close to active wells, raising health concerns, as such proximity has been linked to heart, lung and brain problems, some cancers, and certain birth defects such as lower birth weights, pre-term births and heart defects.

About the author(s):

EHN Staff

Articles written and posted by staff at Environmental Health News

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