Home > Blog > The Hidden Risk of Ethanol

Ethanol is being used to reduce the conventional emissions from gasoline used by automobiles. However, it has its own risks, in leading to toxic and sometimes explosive gases that can enter buildings, as explained by environmental researchers working at Rice University.

A Houston personal injury attorney can represent people exposed to the gas when it entered buildings, which had cracked foundations. Vapors in contaminated groundwater can be sucked into the buildings. Once inside, methane pools and causes health problems, and can even ignite.

This warning comes as the US is promoting the consumption of ethanol in motor vehicles. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has prepared the technical guidance for ethanol at higher levels in automobile fuel. Kirkendall Dwyer LLP is available to advise victims of ethanol poisoning of their rights to compensation.

The researchers at Rice University have determined that fuels with a blend of between 20 and 95% ethanol and gas, such as that used for “flex-fuel” vehicles, can increase methane generation. Gas and ethanol separate when they spread after a spill. Liquid ethanol will degrade into gaseous methane, and this expands. In this way, the vapors can intrude into buildings. A Houston personal injury attorney knows how to get his clients the best possible settlement if they are affected by methane and fall ill.

Benzene is a cancer-causing chemical. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined that long-term exposure may cause harm to bone marrow and cause lower red blood cell levels, which leads to anemia. Benzene can also affect the immune system and cause excessive bleeding.

Studies have been done that assess how much methane is generated during spills, but when the vapors intrude into confined spaces, they can grow there, and cause a toxic presence. A Houston personal injury attorney will understand the consequences of these vapors on human health, and can help them to recover the money they had to pay for medical help, plus money for their pain and suffering.