U.S. Refineries Increase Benzene Emissions in 2008; Data Quality Concerns Undermine Confidence in Reported Data

February 1, 2010

A new report by the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) reports that emissions of benzene, a known human carcinogen, increased more than 8% from U.S. refineries between 2007 and 2008, according to data reported to EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) database. This increase came despite decreased demand for petroleum products in 2008.  The good news is that, despite this one-year increase, benzene emissions did decrease more than 18% between 2000/2001 to 2007/2008 from U.S. refineries.  However, the EIP report also finds that U.S. refinery benzene emissions data may be inaccurate due to likely underestimation of fugitive emissions and inconsistent reporting to different agencies.

For the revised report, see here

For the press release, see here