EPA proposes gasoline benzene rule


Washington, DC�The US Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a rule to limit the maximum benzene content in conventional and reformulated gasolines.

EPA said the proposed standards would require refiners to maintain their average 1998-1999 levels of benzene, a known human carcinogen.

It said, "As a result of EPA's clean air programs that have produced cleaner cars and cleaner burning gasoline, benzene levels nationwide in urban areas decreased 39% between 1993 and 1998. Some cities that use cleaner-burning gasoline have seen even greater reductions. For example, benzene levels in Milwaukee, Houston, and Los Angeles decreased between 44 and 52%.

"This proposal will ensure that the positive steps we have already taken to reduce benzene levels continue and at negligible cost.�

EPA plans an Aug. 21 public hearing on the proposed rule in Detroit, Mich., followed by a 30 day public comment period.

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