Gas stoves in California homes are leaking benzene, a cancer-causing gas, according to a study released Thursday whose authors said they need to continue investigating the cause of the leaks in many homes.
In the study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, the researchers calculate that more than four tons of benzene are released into the atmosphere each year from pipes that carry the gas to buildings, the equivalent of the benzene emissions of nearly 60,000 vehicles. . And the state doesn’t count those emissions.
The researchers collected gas samples from 159 homes in different regions of California and took measurements to determine the types of gases released in the homes when the stoves were off. They found that all samples contained hazardous contaminants such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene, all of which can affect the health of those who are acutely or chronically exposed to them.
Of greatest concern to researchers was benzene, a carcinogen that can cause leukemia and other cancers or blood disorders, according to the National Cancer Institute.
This would have serious consequences for indoor and outdoor air quality in California, the second state in the country for the level of residential gas consumption.
“Our science reveals that Californians are exposed to potentially dangerous levels of benzene in the gas delivered to their homes,” said Drew Michanowicz, one of the study’s authors and a scientist at PSE Healthy Energy, an energy research institute. “We hope that governments take this data into account to ensure that current and future measures protect health in light of this research.”