Researchers have begun to more closely examine the effects of automobiles that use gasoline as their primary fuel source. With a far-reaching effect on society, the use of gasoline is a subject of compelling interest for those who study the environment, human health and the economy.
Gas and the Environment
Gasoline vapors that are absorbed into the air have been shown to contribute to localized pollution and raised atmospheric ozone levels, which have a detrimental effect on air quality. In addition, critics argue that gasoline that is spilled or improperly disposed of poses the potential risk of contaminating soil, groundwater and surface air, leading to additional environmental damage and harmful effects.
Gasoline and Cancer
Gasoline contains benzene, a chemical that has been proved to cause cancer. Benzene is found in the exhaust of vehicles that use gasoline as their primary fuel source. This exhaust is absorbed into the air people breathe, causing the potential for the development of a variety of cancers, including leukemia, which is characterized as the growth and development of abnormal blood cells.
Economists have noted the price of gasoline's impact on the economy as well. The website of WEAU, a television station in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, reports that increasing gasoline prices have a negative effect on the economy by forcing drivers of gasoline-powered cars to cut back on other spending and investments. High gasoline prices also affect the earnings of companies in the transportation industry, causing profit losses as a result of having to spend more money on fuel costs for airplanes and trucks.
Additional Health Effects
In addition to cancer, gasoline poses a variety of additional health risks. Contact with gasoline and gasoline vapors has been shown to cause adverse health effects such as lung irritation, redness and itching of the skin, dizziness, headaches and irritation to the lining of the stomach when accidentally or intentionally ingested. Prolonged exposure to gasoline vapors has also been determined to cause hallucinations in some individuals, according to the Encyclopedia of Earth.
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