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Case Study: Oil Refineries in Contra Costa County : 

Case Study: Oil Refineries in Contra Costa County Carla Garcia Race, Poverty, and the Urban Environment Professor Raquel R. Pinderhughes Urban Studies Program, San Francisco State University, Spring 2004 Public has permission to use the material herein, but only if author, course, and university are credited.

Case Study: Oil Refineries in Contra Costa County : 

Case Study: Oil Refineries in Contra Costa County This presentation focuses on the emissions of pollutants from oil refineries, with Contra Costa County as a case study, and how the noxious wastes affects the high level of children’s asthma. Furthermore the presentation is designed to describe how toxins from oil refineries effects the public health of the surrounding community. The presentation will analyze and describe the purpose, function, problems, and locations of oil refineries in Contra Costa County. Moreover it pays particular attention to the social, environmental, and public health impacts of the process associated with the emissions of toxins from oil refineries.

General Description of Oil Refineries : 

General Description of Oil Refineries Purpose: Oil refineries are complex process plants which turn crude oil into a range of products, including petroleum.

Crude Oil : 

Crude Oil “Crude Oil” is unprocessed oil. It is derived from decaying animal and plants which lived millions of years ago.

Crude Oil & Hydrocarbons : 

Crude Oil & Hydrocarbons Crude oil contains hydrocarbons and form different classes including: - Paraffins - Aromatics - Napthenes or Cycloalkanes - Alkenes Dienes and Alkynes

Refineries Perform 3 Basic Steps : 

Refineries Perform 3 Basic Steps 1) distillation: separates the complex mixture of hydrocarbons in crude oil into components.

Refineries Perform 3 Basic Steps : 

Refineries Perform 3 Basic Steps 2) conversion: splits or re-forms the backbone of carbon atoms in a hydrocarbon molecule in order to make new components of higher value

Refineries Perform 3 Basic Steps : 

Refineries Perform 3 Basic Steps 3) Treating: substitutes hydrogen atoms for sulphur atoms in the hydrocarbons, thereby reducing the pollution caused when the ultimate products are burned - followed by blending together of the resulting components to make finished products.

Function of Oil Refineries : 

Function of Oil Refineries 1) use physical, thermal, and chemical separation techniques to separate crude oil into several components, including fuel 2) non-fuel products such as solvents and asphalt 3) chemical industry feed stocks such as benzene and propane

Problems of Oil Refineries : 

Problems of Oil Refineries Toxic Pollutants of Oil Refineries and its effect on Air Pollution Oil refineries are one of the largest sources of air pollution in the Unites States Refineries are the fourth largest industrial source of toxic emissions and the single largest industrial source of benzene emissions, a known human carcinogen.

Problems of Oil Refineries : 

Problems of Oil Refineries 2)Emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). a) Refineries are the single largest stationary source of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), the primary precursor of urban smog. b) refineries release approximately 492 million pounds of VOCs each year. c) oil refineries release more than twice as many VOCs as the next highest sector, organic chemical plants.

Problems of Oil Refineries : 

Problems of Oil Refineries

Problems of Oil Refineries : 

Problems of Oil Refineries Oil refineries are responsible in allowing hazardous toxins, otherwise know as fugitive emissions to be emitted into the local and global community. a) oil refineries vastly underreport leaks from valves to federal and state regulators b) these unreported fugitive emissions from oil refineries add millions of pounds of harmful pollutants to the atmosphere each year, including over 80 million pounds of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and over 15 million pounds of toxic pollutants (Waxman, 1999).

Problems of Oil Refineries : 

Problems of Oil Refineries Furthermore if these industries complied with Clean Air Act, much of the pollution would be eliminated. c) Fugitive emissions come from a number of sources, including leaking valves, pumps, seals, connectors, pressure relief devices, and storage tanks. d) The majority of toxic pollutants from oil refineries are released a fugitive emissions. According to TRI data, rep oil refineries reported releasing 31 million pounds of toxic fugitive emissions in 1997, more than half of the 58.7 million pounds of toxic air pollutants released

Locations of Oil Refineries : 

Locations of Oil Refineries United States oil refineries are located in: - Texas: 27 refineries - California: 24 refineries - Louisiana: 20 refineries - Pennsylvania: 6 refineries - New Jersey: 6 refineries - Illinois: 6 refineries (Waxman, 1999).

Public Health Issues : 

Public Health Issues Air pollutants are considered “toxic” when they have the potential to cause serious adverse health effects, such as cancer, neurotoxicity, or reproductive toxicity. Examples of these toxic air pollutants include benzene, a known human carcinogen, and xylenes, which depress the central nervous system, damage the kidneys, and irritate the respiratory system. (Waxman, 2000)

Public Health Issues : 

Public Health Issues Refineries are the single largest stationary source of VOCs, the primary precursor of urban smog. Ground level ozone, a toxic gas that is the primary ingredient of urban smog, is formed when emissions of VOCs react with nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in the presence of sunlight

Public Health Issues : 

Public Health Issues High levels of smog have been linked to serious health problems, including irritation of the respiratory system. Smog also aggravates preexisting respiratory diseases such as asthma.

Public Health Issues : 

Public Health Issues Children, the elderly, and people with respiratory conditions, including asthma are especially susceptible to ozone pollution.

Asthma : 

Asthma Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways.

Asthma : 

Asthma Asthma is a growing epidemic with the rate of Americans suffering from asthma being doubled in the last fifteen years, 1980-1996. (Department of Health and Human Services, 2002).

Asthma : 

Asthma 9 million children are affected by asthma. (Pudget Sound Clean Air Agency, 2002)

Asthma : 

Asthma - Asthma sufferers feel their lungs constrict and experience, each new breath as if drawn through a narrow straw. - Asthma is the most prevalent chronic disease among children in California

Asthma : 

Asthma According to a California study, researchers show that children who breathe heavily polluted air are more likely to develop asthma. The study reports, “the strongest evidence yet that smog can not only aggravate existing childhood asthma, which has reached epidemic proportions among American youth, but may actually be one cause of the life-threatening disease.” (Pudget Sound Clean Air Agency, 2002).

Asthma : 

Asthma Exacerbations can be triggered by exposures and conditions such as … outdoor air pollutants.” (Department of Health and Human Services, 2002).

Serious Health Impacts of Asthma : 

Serious Health Impacts of Asthma Asthma is a potentially fatal, chronic disease responsible for over 1.8 million emergency room visits per year, over 460 thousand hospitalizations per year and over five thousand deaths per year (Department of Health and Human Services, 2002).

Social Impacts of Pediatric Asthma : 

Social Impacts of Pediatric Asthma Besides health impacts on children there are many social impacts that affect asthmatic children. 1) School Absenteeism a) Asthma accounts for 14 million lost school days annually. (American Lung Association)

Social Impacts of Pediatric Asthma : 

Social Impacts of Pediatric Asthma Millions of lost hours at work for parents who must nurse sick kids. The estimated annual cost of treating asthma in those under 18 years of age is $3.2 billion.  (American Lung Association)

Social Impacts of Asthma : 

Social Impacts of Asthma Disproportionate Burden of Asthma in Minority Populations and Those Living in Poverty.

Social Impacts of Asthma : 

Social Impacts of Asthma Although asthma affects Americans of all ages, races and ethnic groups, recent data indicate that children, low-income and minority populations have been most severely affected (Department of Health and Human Services, 2000).

Social Impacts of Asthma : 

Social Impacts of Asthma The reasons for the disparities are due to interaction of factors including: lack of access to quality medical care, high levels of exposure to environmental allergens and irritants, language barriers, and lack of financial resources and social support to manage the disease effectively on a long-term basis

Environmental Injustices : 

Environmental Injustices Environmental racism and environmental inequity are, “…evidence that environmental hazards are not distributed equally among various groups of people, either in the United States or throughout the world. Instead, communities of color and to lesser extent, poor people in general are exposed to hazardous and toxic wastes, dangerous working conditions, polluted air and water, and other environmental insults to a greater degree than are non-colored communities and people of higher incomes.” (Newton, 1996).

Environmental Injustices : 

Environmental Injustices DISTRIBUTION OF BURDENS BY RACE/ETHNICITY IN CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 1.92 DISTRIBUTION OF BURDENS BY INCOME/ IN CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 2.00

A Case Study of Contra Costa County and Richmond, CA : 

A Case Study of Contra Costa County and Richmond, CA Ethnic Composition of Richmond, California

A Case Study of Contra Costa County and Richmond, CA : 

A Case Study of Contra Costa County and Richmond, CA Since 1989, there have been 35 major industrial accidents in Contra Costa County, California, making it one of the most dangerous places to live in the nation. (University of Michigan). Between 1989 and 1995, there were over 1900 different incidents reported in the county, making it the eleventh worst area in the entire United States with regards to toxic accidents (University of Michigan). Chevron had 304 accidents between 1989 and 1995 -- major fires, spills, leaks, explosions, toxic gas releases, flaring, and air contamination (University of Michigan).

History of Serious Accidents at Chemical/Refinery Plants in Contra Costa County : 

History of Serious Accidents at Chemical/Refinery Plants in Contra Costa County

Conclusion : 

Conclusion Emissions from oil refineries contribute to noxious pollution, which has detrimental and adverse health effects on the surrounding community, inflicting environmental racism and environmental inequity upon the people of Contra Costa County.

Bibliography : 

Bibliography City of Richmond. (2002, May). Basic Fact Sheet. Retrieved on March 16, 2004 From http://www.ci.richmond.ca.us/Non-Flash/Information/factsheet.pdf Contra Costa Health Services (2002-2004). Hazardous Material Program. Retrieved on April 16, 2004 from: http://www.cchealth.org/ Ecology Center (2003, February) The True Cost of Petroleum: Community News. Retrieved March 17, 2004, from Http://www.ecologycenter.org/erc/petroleum/community.html

Bibliography : 

Bibliography Department of Health and Human Services. )May 2000) Action Against Asthma: A Strategic Plan for the Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved March 16, 2004 from: http://opac.sfsu.edu/search/dAsthma+air+pollution/dasthma+air+pollution25,0B/1856&FF=dasthma+united+states+prevention&1,1,,1,0 Newton, Davis (1996). Environmental Justice. Santa Barbara: ABC- CLO Pearce, N., Beasley, R., Burgess, C. & Crane, J. (1998). Asthma Epidemiology: Principles and Methods. New York: Oxford University Press Pudget Sound Clean Air Agency. (2002, January), Study Air Pollution May Cause Childhood Asthma. Retrieved on March 17, 2004 from: www.pscleanair.org

Bibliography : 

Bibliography Scorecard Organization. (2003) Air Quality Criteria. Retrieved on April 17, 20004 From:www.scorecard.org University of Michigan, (n.d.) Environmental Justice Case Study West Contra Costa County Toxics Coalition and the Chevron Refinery. Retrieved March 17, 2004 from: http://www.umich.edu/~snre492/sherman.html Waxman, Rep. H.A. (1999 November). Minority Staff Special Investigations Division Committee on Government Reform in the U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved on March 16, 2004 from: q=cache:Mfi4TsEW4MIJ:www.house.gov/reform/min/pdfs/pdf_inves/pdf_enviro _oil_refine_rep.pdf+oil+refineries+fail+to+report

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