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Researchers from the University of Murcia (UM) have published their findings in the Journal of Environmental Management.

According to the study, air at petrol stations is contaminated with emissions from evaporated vehicle fuels.

Airborne compounds such as benzene were at much higher levels near to garages than in areas of high traffic density.

Co-author of the study, Marta Doval, said:”Some airborne organic compounds – such as benzene, which increases the risk of cancer – have been recorded at petrol stations at levels above the average levels for urban areas where traffic is the primary source of emission.”

The researchers measured levels of traffic pollutants in Murcia in Spain around petrol stations to find the distance at which pollutants stopped having an impact.

They found the average distance was 50 metres, but even up to 100 metres the levels of pollution were potentially harmful.

The study concluded that petrol stations should be built at a minimum distance of 50 metres from houses and 100 metres away from hospitals, health centres and schools.

Alison Brown

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