Air / Environmental Health & Safety

Report: Harvey Triggered Large-Scale Air Pollution

By Chemical Processing Staff

Aug 31, 2018

The havoc caused by Hurricane Harvey wasn’t limited to floodwater damage when the catastrophic storm slammed into Houston last summer. The Environmental Integrity Project concludes, based on state data, that Harvey was responsible for 8.3 million pounds of unauthorized air pollution, according to an article from

The majority of the large-scale air pollution reportedly resulted from refineries and chemical plants suddenly shutting down when the storm hit – a situation that could have been averted if the companies had prepared for a planned shutdown, which releases less pollution, according to the Environmental Integrity Project report. Because pollution reporting requirements were suspended in the aftermath of the storm, according to the article, the resulting health effects are difficult to assess. The pollution released reportedly included volatile organic compounds and benzene, both known health hazards. 

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