A few days ago, Pulster et al. published their article “Exposure Assessment of Ambient Sulfur Dioxide Downwind of an Oil Refinery in Curaçao” in the Journal of Environmental Protection. Considering public health, they conclude for instance:
,,Furthermore, both the 24-hour and annual mean concentrations of SO2 measured in Curaçao were within the ranges often associated with cardiovascular and respiratory effects and mortality as a result of short-term exposures. While the epidemiological evidence does not conclusively suggest there is a health risk from these levels of exposure, SO2 concentrations greatly exceed regulatory and guidance levels and suggest that further emissions control is warranted.”
Here below you can read the abstract of their article. For the full text click here.
Primary sources of atmospheric sulfur dioxide are anthropogenic activities associated with the burning of fossil fuels and industrial processes that may have associations with various morbidities and mortalities. As such, several regional and global regulatory agencies have recommended ambient air limits to reduce environmental exposures. The objectives of this study were to evaluate ambient levels of sulfur dioxide surrounding an oil refinery on the island of Curaçao. Levels which were then compared to literature values and recommended public health guidelines to determine potential public health risks. Concentrations of sulfur dioxide in Curaçao were found to be among the highest globally with an increasing trend over time. While the epidemiological evidence does not conclusively suggest there is a health risk from these levels of exposure, SO2 concentrations greatly exceed regulatory and guidance levels and suggest that further emissions control is warranted. Future recommendations include a more rigorous epidemiological study in Curaçao and expand the air monitoring efforts to include areas upwind of the refinery as well as additional petrochemical emissions.