Below is an update on oil by rail at the Port of Albany, with a link to link to a report strongly rebutting the State’s “irresponsible” conclusion that high benzene levels in the area are not a public health risk.
More information may be found in the Times Union article DEC criticized over conclusion South End fumes not toxic
Residents of the Ezra Prentice apartments in Albany, N.Y., have been complaining about air quality issues ever since the oil trains showed up in the Port of Albany two years ago.
And recent testing by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has confirmed their fears. In 20 out of 21 air samples taken by the department, benzene levels exceeded the long-term benzene exposure standard. Benzene is a known human carcinogen.
What happened next is puzzling. The department reached a shocking conclusion
, relayed to the residents of Ezra Prentice by research scientist Randi Walker at an August meeting: “The bottom line is that we didn’t find anything that would be considered a health concern with these concentrations that we measured.”
The finding was so bizarre that David O. Carpenter, the director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the State University of New York at Albany, wrote a report about it
. In that report, Carpenter calls the Department of Environmental Conservation’s conclusion “irresponsible.”