Environmental & Health Effects of U.S. Oil Refineries
We may think that we understand all of the consequences of our reliance on fossil fuels, including the dangers associated with asbestos exposure in oil refineries, but have we really considered how our reliance on fossil fuel is affecting our environment? The 32 U.S. states that house oil refineries not only need to consider how the health of oil refinery workers are affected, but they also must consider the impact that they are having on our environment. In fact, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil Corporation, Valero Energy Corporation, and Sunoco Incorporated are just a few of the U.S. oil companies included in the Political Economy Research Institute’s Top 1OO Top Corporate Air Polluters.
Oil Refineries and Air Pollution
U.S. oil refineries release a variety of chemicals into the air during the refining process, including those found below:
- Sulfuric Acid
- Nickel and Cobalt Compounds
- Chromium Compounds
- Hydrochloric Acid
- Hydrogen Flouride
The above chemicals are released by oil refineries in extremely high amounts (often millions of pounds per year) and are highly toxic. The chemicals above, as well as the many other pollutants released into the air by oil refineries, have been known to cause various types of cancer, including lung cancer.
Last modified: December 09, 2009.