Texas State Environmental Agency Expands Air Toxic Hotspot Area

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) recently issued a public comment period and public meeting regarding the Galena Park Air Pollutant Watch List (APWL) area for benzene. The purpose of the APWL is to reduce air toxic emissions in areas of Texas where ambient air monitoring indicates a potential health concern.

Galena Park is listed on the APWL due to elevated annual average concentrations of benzene.  Benzene is a known human carcinogen – both the National Toxicology Program (NTP) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) have found sufficient evidence that high benzene exposure causes acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

Why the change?

Between 1998 and 2007, annual average benzene concentrations in Galena Park exceeded the long-term, health-based Air Monitoring Comparison Values (AMCV) of 1.4 parts per billion by volume (ppbv). In 2009, annual average benzene concentration at the Pasadena North monitoring site equaled the long-term AMCV of 1.4 ppbv.

TCEQ recently conducted a reevaluation of Galena Park and identified significant man-made benzene sources located outside of the current APWL boundary that are likely contributing to annual average benzene concentrations at the Galena Park and Pasadena North monitoring sites. As such, TCEQ is proposing to expand the Galena Park APWL boundary to include these sources of benzene.

How to comment:

The TCEQ will accept comments on the proposed action until September 29 and will hold a public meeting in Galena Park on Tuesday, September 27, at the Alvin D. Baggett Recreation Building, located at 1302 Keene Street, Galena Park, Texas, at 7:00 p.m. For more information visit: http://www.tceq.state.tx.us/implementation/tox/AirPollutantMain/APWL_index.html

Why you should comment:

EDF appreciates that the TCEQ is taking proactive steps to ensure that benzene concentrations in the Galena Park area are reduced. For too long, citizens in this area have been at increased risk for health implications of concentrations of benzene that exceed health-based guidelines. Support TCEQ’s effort to protect citizens’ health from cancer-causing air pollutants.

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