Many people are upset about a J&H Family Store gas station proposed for the corner of Knapp Street and Pettis Avenue, right across the street from Forest Hills Eastern High School.

Neighbors have concerns, many of which are laid out in a petition on The creator of that petition has concerns about health hazards, environmental pollution, traffic and property values.

We reached out to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to talk about health and environmental concerns dealing with the environment.

One concern the petitioners have is that benzene and other hydrocarbons that can cause cancer will get in the air. They cite the American Cancer Society, which confirms that benzene does cause cancer and it occurs naturally in gasoline. 

But because of technology, people aren't at as much of a risk as they once were.

"Since 2006 vehicles are required to have on-board refueling vapor recovery systems," said Lynn Sutfin with Health and Human Services. "This reduces the gasoline released when the vehicle is refueled."

There are also vapor recovery rules for gas stations when they are refilled by tankers.

The petitioner also worries that runoff from gas spills will enter the area's aquifer, water bodies and sewers, polluting the water.

Sutfin says gasoline leaks do happen from time to time, but that's usually because of old underground storage tanks that have not been upgraded.

In 1994, state lawmakers passed tougher regulations for those tanks.

Those opposed to the project in Ada Township say they plan to attend the planning commission's next meeting, which is on Thursday, Nov. 21 at 7 p.m.


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