What Types of Dangers Do Communities Near Refineries and Industrial Plants Face?

Industrial Waste Communities

It is no secret that many industrial and manufacturing processes create large amounts of waste. Unfortunately this waste can have a negative impact on the environment as well as on the communities that are located near the industrial facilities. Exposure to chemicals and carcinogens increases your risk of developing cancer and other serious illnesses.

What Kinds of Industrial Pollutions Should I be Worried About?

Benzene is one of the most dangerous substances is commonly thrown into the air. This is particularly true around oil refineries, but this carcinogen also is used other industries as well. It is a colorless liquid that his highly flammable, and is most often found in gasoline, fuel vapors, and automobile exhaust.

Benzene has been shown to cause a number of adverse health effects:

  • Increased risk of leukemia and bone marrow cancer
  • Reduced red blood cell production and anemia leading to weakness and exhaustion
  • Decrease in number of white blood cells exposing you to higher risk of infections
  • Lower blood platelet counts that leads to excessive bruising and bleeding

The risk of benzene poisoning is so great that, as of 2015, the EPA has required refineries to install fence line monitors to test the air quality along the perimeter of their facilities. When high quantities of this chemical are detected, the plant must reduce or halt production.

Additional Regulatory Steps

The EPA has also tightened up other operating restrictions for refineries:

  • Refineries must cut back on the deliberate burning of waste known as flaring.
  • There are tighter emissions controls on coker units and storage tanks.
  • Loopholes have been closed that allowed refineries to shut down and restart rapidly.

Many industrial operations are voluntarily exchanging the use of Benzene with Toluene. While this alternate chemical is not considered a carcinogen, it is still toxic. It is often used as a solvent and can be found in paints, lacquers, fuels, printing, and leather curing operations. It causes lightheadedness and dizziness. In some places, it is considered an intoxicative inhalant, and its possession is regulated.

Discovering Long-Term Health Consequences

The damage caused by pollution can go undetected for many years, and low-income neighborhoods disproportionately affected. To determine if an environmental pollutant is affecting a population, doctors must compare the number of complaints in a region against the statistically normal incidences of diseases. If too many cases of certain cancers appear in a small geographic region, the presence of a carcinogen is suspected. This suspicion cannot be validated without complicated environmental testing.

Legal Help with Medical Expenses

By the time you have discovered that you are at risk for cancer because of an industrial pollutant, it is often too late to prevent the damage from happening. Disadvantaged groups often feel helpless when faced with legal and medical costs, and it can take some time to determine that an industrial agent is at fault.

Clay Dugas and Associates is committed to helping victims receive the legal help they need to address their health concerns. If you suspect that industrial waste is damaging your health, please contact us for a free consultation.


Located in Beaumont, Texas, the Law Offices of Clay Dugas & Associates, P.C. represents injury and accident victims from throughout Orange County, Hardin County, Jefferson County, and the surrounding areas of East Texas, including those from cities such as Port Arthur, Vidor, Houston, Winnie, Galveston, Conroe, Jasper, Woodville, Lufkin, Lumberton, Austin, Dallas San Antonio, and people from areas of Southwest Louisiana such as Lake Charles and Calcasieu Parish.
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