Impact of Gas Station Benzene Emissions on Human Health

Air pollution is damaging to human health and the environment. In Europe, emissions of many of the air pollutants have decreased substantially over the past decades, resulting in improved air quality throughout the region. However, concentrations of air pollutants are still too high and air quality problems persist (EEA [on line, 03/21/2016]).

The distribution of hydrocarbons at service stations, particularly those located in urban centers, may be associated with important health impacts of the residents in their surroundings (Correa et al., 2012; Ioj et al., 2011; Esplugues et al. , 2010; Terrés et al. (2010).

The research work will be developed based on fieldwork (measurement of atmospheric concentrations and level of benzene exposure of the surrounding population), as well as numerical modeling, which will allow an advance in the knowledge of this subject in a scientifically sustained and widely applied way.

The problem of the health impact of residents in the service station environment has already been worked out by some of the researchers integrated in this project (Fontes, 2010; Fontes et al, 2016), so there is already a prior knowledge of the problem that is intended to be deepened .

Thus, the main objective of this study is to know how high benzene levels are around urban Fuel Supply Stations (FSS) and to understand how exposure to potentially elevated levels of benzene may be associated with malignant neoplasms of lymphoid tissue, hematopoietic and others. An immediate consequence of the conclusions of this project would be the support to the urban planning of the city of Porto, establishing distances of protection for those who live in the surroundings of these infrastructures.


  • To assess the impact on human health of FSS emissions by testing the hypothesis: “Is exposure to benzene in the surroundings of fuel stations (FSS) endangering public health?”

Specific goals:

  • Assessment of the concentration levels of benzene in the surroundings of the fuel stations, in the exterior and interior of the houses;
  • Understand how exposure to benzene and the associated risk of incidence of malignant neoplasms in lymphatic, hematopoietic, or other related tissues vary in the population living in the surrounding of the fuel stations;
  • What is the recommended safety distance to this type of infrastructure.

UFP participants:

Project supported by:

  • Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (UID/MULTI/04546/2016).
  • Fundação Fernando Pessoa.


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