Formaldehyde Air Pollution In Houston

Air pollution monitoring conducted by the Houston Health Department in 2019 and 2020 recorded levels of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, along the Houston Ship Channel that pose health risks to those living and working nearby. The health department’s analysis, funded by the EPA, found that from September 27, 2019, to September 26, 2020, annual formaldehyde concentrations at three monitoring sites exceeded EPA’s chronic health screening level of 0.17 parts per billion for risk of one additional cancer case per million people. Prolonged exposure above this concentration would present an increased risk of cancer to local residents. The highest average annual concentration was in the Cloverleaf neighborhood, where the monitor averaged 2.28 parts per billion – more than 13 times EPA’s chronic health screening level. In the long-term, this would translate to about 1 additional cancer case per 77,000 people, according to the Houston Health Department’s assessment of EPA’s cancer risk formulas.