Department of Health & Human Services Completes Benzene Study
Contact: Jennifer Ruggles
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Air Quality Program has completed a yearlong study of indoor and outdoor benzene levels in the Anchorage community.
Previous studies conducted in Anchorage suggested that levels of benzene in outdoor air and inside homes with attached garages were higher than most of the U.S. The data indicated that the high benzene content of Anchorage gasoline was largely responsible for these high levels. New federal regulations are expected to reduce the amount of benzene in locally available gasoline from about five percent to near one percent in 2012. DHHS will work to determine how effective this approach is in lowering the amount of benzene citizens breathe in the outside air and in their homes.
So far, DHHS has completed Phase 1 of a planned, two-phase study. Phase 1 of this EPA-funded study provides a “snapshot” of benzene levels in the air before the benzene content in gasoline is reduced. For phase II, DHHS staff hope to repeat these measurements to determine how much the benzene levels drop when the levels are decreased.
To view the report or for more information, visit muni.org/health or call the Air Quality Program at 343-6976.
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