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Monday, February 7, 2011
Petrol pumps fuel cancer risks
Petrol stations seem to increase the risk of cancer, especially those situated within 100 metres of residential areas, according to a Spanish study.
Researchers from Spain's University of Murcia (UM) have discovered higher-than-usual levels of contamination in properties in proximity to pump forecourts.
"Some airborne organic compounds - such as benzene, which increases the risk of cancer - have been recorded at petrol stations at levels above the average levels for urban areas where traffic is the primary source of emission" said Marta Doval, co-author of the study and a researcher at the UM.
In Spain it is relatively common to come across petrol stations surrounded by houses, particularly in urban areas.
The study, which has been published in the Journal of Environmental Management, shows that the air at petrol stations and in their immediate surroundings is above all affected by emissions stemming from evaporated vehicle fuels (unburnt fuels from fuel loading and unloading operations, refuelling and liquid spillages).
The research showed that a "minimum" distance of 50 metres should be maintained between petrol stations and housing, and 100 metres for "especially vulnerable" facilities such as hospitals, health centres, schools and old people's homes.
"Ideally, the 100 metre distance should be respected in plans for building new houses", says Doval. Source: Agencies