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Shell Reports Release of Deadly Benzene Chemical at Deer Park Refinery

By John Donovan

26 February 2011

Bloomberg News has reported the release of an unknown amount of the deadly chemical benzene at its Deer Park refinery in Texas.

According to one source, “Being exposed to benzene can lead to a host of diseases“.

Extract: “The worse case is associated to acquiring acute myelogenous leukemia, a type of disease that involves the production of cancer cells in the blood. Leukemia prevents the while blood cells from growing properly. White blood cells are the main components of the body’s immune system. With them impaired, the body becomes more prone to developing other diseases. This is a life-threatening condition brought about by exposure to benzene”.

The benzene incident comes 10 years after Royal Dutch Shell made a commitment to invest $400 million over eight years to reduce the release into the atmosphere of toxic chemicals at its nine refineries operating in the USA, including Deer Park and the Martinez refinery in California.

Bloomberg says: “U.S. refineries must notify the National Response Center if they release hazardous substances in excess of reportable quantities, according to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, commonly known as Superfund”.

Royal Dutch Shell has a track record of illegal emissions at the Deer Park refinery.

On March 21, 2001, the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice announced a settlement committing nine refineries owned by Motiva, Equilon Enterprises, and the Deer Park Refining Limited Partnership to a program to ensure compliance with important provisions of the United States Clean Air Act. The companies agreed to invest $400 million over eight years to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide and particulate matter. Motiva Enterprises LLC, is a joint venture between Shell and Saudi Refining Inc. Equilon Enterprises is a subsidiary of Shell Oil Co. Shell Oil Products is a partner in Park Refining Limited partnership. of

On 16 May 2007, Bloomberg News reported that Royal Dutch Shell Plc had shut two ethylene plants at a Texas production complex after it lost steam power and released tons of chemicals into the air around Houston. The report went on to say that Shell’s Deer Park, Texas, complex lost steam from an external supplier on 2 May 2007 and that consequential shut-downs “resulted in the airborne release of dozens of contaminants, including 2,420 pounds of ethylene, 1,782 pounds of propylene, 1,622 pounds of sulfur dioxide and 4,700 pounds of volatile organic compounds” in the Houston area.

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