Health

Mid-County pollution, cancer risk front and center in ProPublica map

A recently published map details industry-related air pollution in geographic areas around the country to estimate increased cancer risks, and a number of Texas cities are located in potential “hot spots.”

Overall, the searchable map allows people to scroll across the U.S. and zoom in on a city or region, with graphics along the left sidebar providing specific industrial cancer risk estimates in certain areas. The map also highlights “hot spots,” denoting “areas where contiguous grid cells have estimated incremental cancer risks at or above 1 in 100,000,” according to ProPublica. In Texas, a number of these areas surround cities such as Houston, Mid-County, Longview, Port Lavca, Laredo and others.

In what is described as the “area of industrial cancer risk around Port Arthur, Texas” that falls in Mid-County, the ProPublica map says the population of 340,000 in the regional “hot spot” has an average risk of “1 in 30,000, or 67% lower than the EPA’s acceptable risk,” while the highest risk in the area is listed as “1 in 53, or 190 times the EPA’s acceptable risk.” People who live in this area, “have at least an estimated 1 in 100,000 excess lifetime cancer risk from industrial air pollution” based on the organization’s EPA modeling analysis, according to ProPublica.

A portion of the map also lists the “top emitters of cancer-causing chemicals” in the Mid-County area and this includes the Huntsman Petrochemical LLC Port Neches Facility, Dragon Products North Silsbee Facility, Veolia ES Technical Solutions LLC Port Arthur Facility, Basf Total Petrochemicals LLC and the ExxonMobil Oil Beaumont Refinery.
 
The Huntsman Petrochemical LLC Port Neches Facility “alone,” according to ProPublica, is “estimated to increase the excess cancer risk for people living within five miles by an average of 1 in 4,200.”


For the full ProPublica map, additional information about the data, analysis and more, view the map and paired blog post.

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