Benzene Injury Law

Benzene Injury Law Blog

Abandoned Gas and Oil Wells Are Leaking Benzene

There are millions of “orphaned” oil and gas wells across the United States that have been abandoned by the large gas and oil producers who dug them in the first place. Recent studies have confirmed that these wells are leaking benzene. Benzene is a known carcinogen present in crude oil. Prolonged exposure to benzene can cause acute myeloid leukemia and other blood cancers. While benzene can be absorbed through the skin, most benzene exposures come from inhalation.

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    Where Are These Wells Located?

    Some of these wells are close to schools, parks, residential homes, and businesses. Since pipes are generally below ground level, property owners are often unaware of the presence of these wells. After purchasing their homes, owners may later learn their property was built on top of an abandoned well. For instance, a family learned their rented home was located less than 35 feet from an abandoned well in Pennsylvania. Through off-gassing of benzene, these abandoned oil and gas wells can cause extensive harm to our environment and human health.

    Is a Plugged Well Safe?

    Not necessarily. Researchers with the PSE Healthy Energy Institute have found that abandoned wells can release high levels of toxic benzene. A PSE Healthy Energy Institute study focused on the presence of gas in abandoned wells in Pennsylvania. Both plugged and unplugged wells were studied to detect the presence of gas. Researchers found that plugging wells decreases the incidence of leak detection at abandoned wells. However, even plugged wells can still leak benzene.

    Petroleum Industry Does Not Mandate Caps and Taxpayers Pick Up the Tab

    Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) concluded that the historical practice of plugging wells did not always ensure protection. With the estimation of 3.5 million abandoned gas and oil wells in the United States, abandoned wells are a clear hazard to human health. Since the companies who initiated these well digging projects are often dissolved, state and federal governments end up responsible for the cleanup of these abandoned gas and oil wells.

    The attorneys at Benzene Lawyers have been fighting the petroleum industry for years. If you or a loved one has been exposed to benzene and later developed myelodysplastic syndrome, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, or another blood cancer, call 1-800-BENZENE today.







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