Findings suggest that fossil fuel companies are not reporting all of their toxic emissions
Using data from a NASA satellite, researchers have found that the emission of pollutants from oil sands mining operations in Canada’s Alberta Province are comparable to the emissions from a large power plant or a moderately sized city. The emissions from the energy-intensive mining effort come from excavators, dump trucks, extraction pumps and wells, and refining facilities where the oil sands are processed. Visit this NASA Earth Observatory web page for more information.
The mines follow the course of the Athabasca River, the dark brown ribbon of water that runs down the center of the image. The river is essential to the operation. Over the course of its very long lifetime, the river has eroded through the sediment that once covered the oil deposit, gradually bringing it close to the surface. Without the river, the oil sands would likely be buried beneath a thick layer of earth. For more information, visit this NASA Earth Observatory web page.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Airborne pollutants, including cancer-causing chemicals, are showing up downwind of Canada’s largest oil, gas and tar sands processing zone, in a rural area where men suffer elevated rates of cancers linked to chemicals like 1,3-butadiene and benzene.
The findings, compiled by researchers with the University of California-Irvine and the University of Michigan, also suggested that, in some cases, companies are not reporting all of the tons of chemicals they release. The sampling found high levels of 1,3-butadiene that could only have come from one facility, but there were no records of the company reporting those emissions.
“Our study was designed to test what kinds of concentrations could be encountered on the ground during a random visit downwind of various facilities. We’re seeing elevated levels of carcinogens and other gases in the same area where we’re seeing excess cancers known to be caused by these chemicals,” said UC Irvine chemist Isobel Simpson, lead author of the paper in Atmospheric Environment. (more…)
Filed under: air quality, energy, Environment | Tagged: air pollution, benzene, carcinogens, Environment, Fort Saskatchewan, health, tar sands | Leave a Comment »