Senator Henry Stern’s Statement on Alarming Levels of Benzene Leaking In Homes Across California

Days ahead of the Aliso Canyon gas blowout anniversary, Sen. Stern calls for an investigation into benzene gas leaks and reiterates calls for Aliso Canyon’s closure

October 24, 2022

Sacramento, CA – A new study published in Environmental Science & Technology from researchers at
PSE Healthy Energy found that the gas that is piped into California homes for heating and cooking
contains elevated levels of benzene and other hazardous pollutants. Low-level gas leaks from kitchen
stoves alone can create benzene levels in homes comparable to living with a smoker.

Homes in almost every region of California — Greater Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay Area,
Sacramento & Fresno — had benzene levels that far exceed the limit determined to be safe by the CA
Office of Environmental Health Hazards Assessment - up to seven times that limit.

Exceptionally high concentrations were observed in kitchens in the North San Fernando and Santa Clarita
Valleys, near SoCalGas’ Aliso Canyon gas storage facility, where benzene levels were observed roughly 30
times greater than the statewide average.

In response, Senator Stern released the following statement:
“Something strange is going on here as we in Aliso’s shadow have known all along. These findings are
extremely alarming. Gas appliances in homes are leaking hazardous levels of benzene, even when
turned off. Across California, benzene concentrations were astronomically higher in the Greater Los
Angeles area and particularly in the North San Fernando Valley near the SoCalGas Aliso Canyon gas
storage facility. There’s a clear health mandate to move away from gas appliances in our homes, and
since the closure of Aliso Canyon did not come from Senate Bill 1486 as I had hoped, the actual closure
of Aliso can’t come quickly enough for everyone and everything breathing in the surrounding areas..

This report requires a deeper investigation, using all legal authorities at our disposal across California
government, to get to the bottom of what is really going on with the gas that is piped into homes
throughout California. SoCalGas needs to tell its customers and our communities what is in their gas.”
 

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