Benzene Pollution from Deer Park Fire a "Real Risk to Human Health"

Statement of EDF Senior Director Elena Craft

March 21, 2019
Matt Tresaugue, (713) 392-7888,


(HOUSTON – March 21, 2019) Harris County officials today ordered a shelter in place for the city of Deer Park, Texas after detecting elevated levels of benzene near a petrochemical storage facility that caught fire this week. EDF issued the following statement:”This is a real risk to human health, not theoretical. Benzene is a known carcinogen, and no amount is safe to breathe. We urge everyone, especially pregnant women, to be vigilant.

“EDF commends Harris County for its response in issuing a shelter in place for the city of Deer Park. We have expected this type of situation since the start of the International Terminals Company fire. Officials must be diligent in tracking air pollution and protecting people’s health.

“Harris County, state, and federal officials sometimes failed to acknowledge the potential risk this week while trying to reassure the public that air quality was ‘normal.’ No one should accept polluted air as normal.”

· Elena Craft, PhD, Senior Director for Climate and Health, Environmental Defense Fund

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