Nevertheless, ProPublica and the Guardian did obtain one consent order that covers a dozen Chevron fuels made from plastics that were reviewed under the program. Although the EPA had blacked out sections, including the chemicals’ names, that document showed that the fuels that Chevron plans to make at its Pascagoula refinery present serious health risks, including developmental problems in children and cancer and harm to the nervous system, reproductive system, liver, kidney, blood and spleen.
Aside from the chemical that carries a 25% lifetime risk of cancer from smoke-stack emissions, another of the Chevron fuels ushered in through the program is expected to cause 1.2 cancers in 10,000 people – also far higher than the agency allows for the general population. The EPA division that screens new chemicals typically limits cancer risk from a single air pollutant to one case of cancer in a million people. The agency also calculated that air pollution from one of the fuels is expected to cause 7.1 cancers in every 1,000 workers – more than 70 times the level EPA’s new chemicals division usually considers acceptable for workers.
In addition to the chemicals released through the creation of fuels from plastics, the people living near the Chevron refinery are exposed to an array of other cancer-causing pollutants, as ProPublica reported in 2021. In that series, which mapped excesscancer risk from lifetime exposure to air pollution across the US, the highest chance was one cancer in 53 people, in Port Arthur, Texas.