The requested air quality tests for the North Weymouth, Massachusetts, area have been completed, and the benzene level results are concerning.
Wicked Local Braintree reports that out of six samples tested by GeoLabs and Phoenix Environmental Laboratories of Connecticut based in Braintree, East Braintree showed to have the highest levels of benzene. The Fore River Residents Against the Compressor Station (FRRACS) revealed the results to the town council.
Spectra Energy, now known as Enbridge*, plans to build a 7,700-horsepower Fracked-Gas Compressor Station adjacent to the new Fore River Bridge in North Weymouth, which FRRACS says will adversely affect South Shore residents.
Benzene is a carcinogen that has been linked to serious illnesses such as leukemia and lymphoma. According to the American Cancer Society, it is a contributor to acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
The other pollutants sampled were methylene chloride, 1.2 dichloropropane, 2-hexaanone, alkanes, hexane, acetone and ethanol. All exceeded Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) standards.
“Braintree was where we found the greatest number of exceedences,” said Dr. Curtis L. Nordgaard, a Newton pediatrician, who is working with FRRACS on the issue.
“Some pollutants were two to three times as high as what the state considers acceptable for human health,” he added, noting that Braintree exceeded Boston’s pollution levels.
Alice Arena, co-leader of FRRACS, was surprised and concerned by the benzene test results. She is confident the proposed compressor station will be a worrisome safety hazard to residents of Braintree, not only because of the pollution, but also because of their propensity to explode.
According to Arena, Weymouth spent close to $500,000 for legal fees in the last two years in its more than 24-month battle against the compressor station proposal.
State Sen. Walter Timilty, D-Milton, who represents a portion of Braintree, is entirely against the plans for a compressor station by Enbridge Inc. Timilty is concerned that the station, which would be built near the Fore River Bridge in North Weymouth, will undoubtedly have a negative effect on the area’s quality of life.