When Jay Olaguer, the air-quality science program director at the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC), and his team of researchers conducted a month-long study in two neighborhoods near the Houston Ship Channel, they found plumes of benzene from the nearby petrochemical industry in expected places. But they were also surprised by some unexpected results. He and his fellow scientists detected many pollutants including benzene coming from the refineries, rail yard and barges in the channel. That was expected. But they also discovered “sporadic, unpredictable belches” of benzene emitted from the ground. Benzene, a key ingredient in gasoline, is a sweet-smelling chemical that is used to make plastics, lubricants, ... Read More
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