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Car Exhaust Emissions

Volume 171: debated on Wednesday 25 April 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what consultations he has undertaken on the impact on health of increased benzene emissions in car exhausts arising from the duty concessions on lead-free petrol;(2) whether he will commission a study into the safe concentrations of benzene in the atmosphere consequent upon the policy of increasing the tax advantages of lead-free petrol:(3) whether he has established what effects the increasing use of lead-free petrol will have on benzene concentrations in the atmosphere.

[holding answer 24 April 1990]: The Department of the Environment is funding a substantial programme of research into emissions from vehicles using leaded and unleaded petrol, including emissions of benzene. The Government's health advisers will be asked to consider the evidence on exposure to benzene in the atmosphere resulting from this research and advise on its implications for public health. It is not expected that the increased use of lead-free petrol will result in a significant increase in benzene concentrations in the atmosphere.