Hazardous Air PollutantsOil and natural gas production facilities emit pollutants such as hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) and volatile organic compounds (VOC). These pollutants can contribute to health problems that may affect facility employees and the community.
While Federal, state, local, and Tribal regulations limit the amount of emissions from oil and natural gas production facilities, dangerous releases of HAPs can occur if an oil and natural gas production facility does not operate in compliance with regulations.
Oil and natural gas production emits benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes (BTEX) as well as n-hexane and VOC.
Exposure to benzene may cause: irritation of the skin, eyes, and upper respiratory tract; blisters on the skin.
Exposure to benzene over a long period of time may cause blood disorders, reproductive and developmental disorders, and cancer.
Exposure to toluene over a long time may cause nervous system effects, irritation of the skin, eyes, and respiratory tract, dizziness, headaches, difficulty with sleep, birth defects.
Short-term exposure may cause throat and eye irritation, chest constriction, and dizziness.
Long-term exposure may cause blood disorders.
Short-term exposure to high levels of mixed xylenes may cause: irritation of the nose and throat, nausea, vomiting, gastric irritation, mild transient eye irritation, neurological effects.
Long-term exposure to high levels of xylene may impact the nervous system.
Short-term exposure to hexane can cause dizziness, giddiness, slight nausea, and a headache.
Long-term exposure to hexane can cause numbness in extremities, muscular weakness, blurred vision, headaches, and fatigue.
Volatile Organic Compounds are released during the production of oil and natural gas. The chemicals in VOCs can form ground-level ozone (smog) which can cause breathing difficulties, especially with those who are young, elderly, or have existing respiratory problems such as asthma.