"An internal watchdog is calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to step up its actions to address emissions of cancer-causing benzene, saying that oil refineries have been releasing unsafe levels of the substance.
The EPA has classified benzene — which can come from burning coal and oil— as a known human carcinogen. Refineries turn crude oil into gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.
The office of the EPA’s inspector general issued a new report Wednesday saying that out of 25 refineries that had excess benzene emissions at least one time between January 2018 and September 2021, 23 had at least one other instance of excess emissions, and 13 had at least 10 more instances.
Furthermore, the report said that of these 25 refineries, at least 18 later emitted the chemical at levels that present health risks."