Refinery Row Neighborhood VOC Levels Compare to National Levels

Wednesday, January 05, 2011
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ATLANTA —An Exposure Investigation among residents of two Corpus Christi neighborhoods found concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in personal air and blood samples were not higher than those found in a national survey of United States residents. The federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) conducted the investigation. ATSDR worked with community members to recruit 90 participants who provided information about their daily activities as well as blood, urine, and personal air samples.  

ATSDR measured community exposure to benzene and other petroleum-related VOCs in Dona Park and Hillcrest neighborhoods. Overall, VOC levels in blood and personal air samples were not higher than levels in samples from a national survey.  A few personal air samples had high VOC levels that may have resulted from participants’ direct contact with consumer products such as fuel, which contain high levels of VOCs.  Exposure Investigation participants who smoked had higher blood concentrations of VOCs than non-smokers.  Tobacco smoking is a significant source of exposure to VOCs among US residents.  

ATSDR and CDC have high confidence in the overall results of the Exposure Investigation; however, the agency cautions that the findings are specific to the time frame of this investigation and the locations where the sampling was conducted. This investigation does not provide information about past or future exposures.  ATSDR is conducting a Public Health Assessment to look at possible effects from short and long-term exposures to benzene and other air contaminants.  

To read the Exposure Investigation report, visit  

Copies of the report are also available at


La Retama Library

805 Comanche St.

Corpus Christi, Texas 78401

Phone: 361-826-7082


North West Library

3202 Mckinzie Rd.

Corpus Christi, Texas 78410

Phone: 361-241-9329


   Oveal Williams Senior Center

   1414 Martin Luther King

   Corpus Christi, TX  78407 Phone: (361) 887-7633.

ATSDR and CDC representatives will be available to discuss the Exposure Investigation report and other refinery row health assessment activities at a meeting 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 27th, 2011. 


ATSDR also invites citizens of Corpus Christi to attend a workshop about the Exposure Investigation process and how to prevent chemical exposures.  This workshop will be 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 13, 2011.  The workshop is free, but space is limited.  Attendees will be admitted as long as space allows.  Interested persons may pre-register for the workshop by contacting Donna Chaney toll-free at (866) 336-9176 or by email at


The workshop and the meeting will be held at the Oveal Williams Senior Center, 1414 Martin Luther King Drive, Corpus Christi, TX 78401, phone (361) 887-7633.





Members of the news media can request an interview with ATSDR staff by calling the NCEH/ATSDR Office of Communication at (770) 488-0700.

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Related Web Site(s)

Corpus Christi - ATSDR petitioned site.

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Related News Releases For Nueces County, Corpus Christi, Texas

Release Date:  Friday, January 21, 2011
Corpus Christi residents are invited to attend a community meeting to learn more about health-related investigations by the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). The meeting will be 6:30 – 9:30 p.m., Thursday, January 27, 2011, at the Oveal Williams Senior Center, 1414 Martin Luther King Drive, Corpus Christi, TX 78401, phone (361) 887-7633.

Release Date:  Tuesday, January 05, 2010
Investigators conducting an Exposure Investigation of Corpus Christi residents found no evidence of widespread exposure to high concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) among Hillcrest and Dona Park residents living near refinery row.

Release Date:  Tuesday, October 27, 2009
The director of the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) will visit Corpus Christi to meet with area residents and listen to concerns about the environment in Corpus Christi.

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Page last reviewed: January 05, 2011