Study: Cancer-causing gas leaking from CA stoves, pipes

Gas stoves in California homes are leaking cancer-causing benzene, researchers found in a new study published Thursday, although they say more research is needed to understand how many homes have leaks.

In the study, published Thursday in Environmental Science and Technology, the researchers also estimated that over 4 tons of benzene per year escapes into the atmosphere from outdoor pipes that deliver the gas to buildings in California — equivalent to nearly benzene emissions 60,000 vehicles. And these emissions are not taken into account by the state.

The researchers collected gas samples from 159 homes in different regions of California and measured to see what types of gases were being emitted into the homes when the stoves were turned off. They found that all of the samples they tested contained hazardous air pollutants such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene (BTEX), all of which can have adverse health effects on humans with chronic exposure or acute exposure in larger amounts.

Of most concern to researchers was benzene, a known carcinogen that can lead to leukemia and other cancers and blood disorders, according to the National Cancer Institute.

The finding could have significant implications for indoor and outdoor air quality in California, which has the second-highest natural gas consumption in the United States.

Study: Carcinogenic gas leaks from CA furnaces and pipes

BY DREW COSTLEY

2 hours ago

In this 2022 image provided by PSE Healthy Energy, a gas stove in California is tested for benzene. Furnaces in California homes leak the cancer-causing gas benzene, researchers found in a new study published Thursday, October 20, although they say more research is needed to understand how many homes have leaks. (PSE Healthy Energy via AP)

In this 2022 image provided by PSE Healthy Energy, a gas stove in California is tested for benzene. Furnaces in California homes leak the cancer-causing gas benzene, researchers found in a new study published Thursday, October 20, although they say more research is needed to understand how many homes have leaks. (PSE Healthy Energy via AP)

Gas stoves in California homes are leaking cancer-causing benzene, researchers found in a new study published Thursday, although they say more research is needed to understand how many homes have leaks.

In the study, published Thursday in Environmental Science and Technology, the researchers also estimated that over 4 tons of benzene per year escapes into the atmosphere from outdoor pipes that deliver the gas to buildings in California — equivalent to nearly benzene emissions 60,000 vehicles. And these emissions are not taken into account by the state.

The researchers collected gas samples from 159 homes in different regions of California and measured to see what types of gases were being emitted into the homes when the stoves were turned off. They found that all of the samples they tested contained hazardous air pollutants such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene (BTEX), all of which can have adverse health effects on humans with chronic exposure or acute exposure in larger amounts.

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Of most concern to researchers was benzene, a known carcinogen that can lead to leukemia and other cancers and blood disorders, according to the National Cancer Institute.

The finding could have significant implications for indoor and outdoor air quality in California, which has the second-highest natural gas consumption in the United States.

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“What our science shows is that people in California are exposed to potentially dangerous levels of benzene from the gas that is piped into their homes,” said Drew Michanowicz, study co-author and principal scientist at PSE Healthy Energy, an energy research and development firm political institute. “We hope that policymakers will consider this data when creating policies to ensure current and future policies are health-protective in the light of this new research.”

Homes in the greater Los Angeles area, the northern San Fernando Valley, and the San Clarita Valley had the highest levels of benzene gas. Leaks from furnaces in these regions could release enough benzene to significantly exceed the safe limit as determined by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazards Assessment.

That finding in particular didn’t surprise local residents and medical workers in the area, who spoke to The Associated Press about the study. That’s because many of them experienced the nation’s largest known natural gas leak in 2015 in Aliso Canyon.

At that time, 100,000 tons of methane and other gases, including benzene, leaked from a defective well operated by Southern California Gas Co. It took nearly four months to get the leak under control, resulting in headaches, nausea and nosebleeds.

dr Jeffrey Nordella was a doctor at an emergency room in the area during this time and recalls being confused by the variety of symptoms patients were suffering from. “I didn’t have much to offer them” other than help them detox from the exposures, he said.

That was acute exposure to a large amount of benzene, distinct from chronic exposure to smaller amounts, but “remember what the World Health Organization said: There is no safe concentration of benzene,” he said.

Kyoko Hibino was one of the residents exposed to toxic air pollution as a result of the Aliso Canyon gas leak. After the leak, she developed a persistent cough and nosebleeds and was eventually diagnosed with breast cancer, which has also been linked to benzene exposure. Her cats also got nosebleeds and one recently died of leukemia.

“I would say let’s take this study really seriously and understand how bad[benzene exposure]is,” she said.

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

https://6abc.com/gas-leaking-cancer-causing-pipes-california-homes-benzene/12351324/ Study: Cancer-causing gas leaking from CA stoves, pipes

Alley Einstein

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