This ‘climate-friendly’ fuel comes with an astronomical cancer risk
(The Guardian, 23 Feb 2023) Almost half of products cleared so far under a new US federal ‘biofuels’ program are not, in fact, biofuels.
The Environmental Protection Agency recently gave a Chevron refinery the green light to create fuel from discarded plastics as part of a climate-friendly initiative to boost alternatives to petroleum. But, according to agency records obtained by ProPublica and the Guardian, the production of one of the fuels could emit air pollution that is so toxic, one out of four people exposed to it over a lifetime could get cancer.
“That kind of risk is obscene,” said Linda Birnbaum, former head of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. “You can’t let that get out.”
That risk is 250,000 times greater than the level usually considered acceptable by the EPA division that approves new chemicals. Chevron hasn’t started making this jet fuel yet, the EPA said. When the company does, the cancer burden will disproportionately fall on people who have low incomes and are Black because of the population that lives within three miles of the refinery in Pascagoula, Mississippi.