Toxic benzene lingered for weeks after shelter-in-place warnings ended following 2019 Houston-area chemical fire

HARC in the News


By Erin Douglas, Alejandra Martinez and Caroline Covington, Texas Tribune

As the fire at ITC spread from tank to tank, an ominous black plume of smoke spiraled over the Houston skyline. Ten of the tanks — each big enough to hold more than 3 million gallons of chemicals — collapsed, sending chemicals gushing into the nearby ship channel and killing birds and fish. Ash rained down on nearby neighborhoods.


In Deer Park, benzene concentrations usually top out around 5 parts per billion in March, according to an analysis of TCEQ data by Ebrahim Eslami, an air quality research scientist at Houston Advanced Research Center.