#MossmorranPollutants

Mossmorran Pollutants

A list of the pollutants emitted by Fife NGL (Shell) and the Fife Ethylene Plant (ExxonMobil). Data includes quantities (as provided to SEPA), and the potential hazards & health impacts

Air Pollutant Releases

Data is based on estimations provided by ExxonMobil and Shell and published by SEPA
The data below is provided by the plant operators as part of the voluntary compliance scheme. SEPA do not actively monitor emissions from the plant. ExxonMobil conduct the calculations and estimations of emissions levels, the data is then passed onto SEPA who check the calculations and estimations before publishing on their website at: http://apps.sepa.org.uk/SPRIPA/Search/ViewReturn.aspx?returnId=11268
The data below is provided by the plant operators as part of the voluntary compliance scheme. SEPA do not actively monitor emissions from the plant. Shell conduct the calculations and estimations of emissions levels, the data is then passed onto SEPA who check the calculations and estimations before publishing on their website at: http://apps.sepa.org.uk/SPRIPA/Search/ViewReturn.aspx?returnId=11184
Annual Returns

Air Pollutants

All the data below is sourced from SEPA through the Scottish Pollutant Release Inventory (SPRI). Data is self-reported by Shell and ExxonMobil using a variety of methods (detailed below). Not all pollutants are recorded as they are considered Below Reporting Threshold (BRT) – An operator reports BRT when a pollutant is emitted below the SPRI reporting threshold but above zero to the environment from an installation.

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In 2017, the Fife Ethylene Plant (ExxonMobil) was the 3rd biggest emitter of Carbon Dioxide in Scotland (out of 1,237 industrial sites)

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In 2017, Fife NGL (Shell) was the 16th biggest emitter of Carbon Dioxide in Scotland (out of 1,237 industrial sites)

Air Pollutant Factsheet

Emission source: Fife Ethylene Plant (ExxonMobil) & Fife NGL (Shell)

Environmental Effects: Benzene quickly reacts with other chemicals in the air and is thus removed within a few days of release. In soils and water bodies it breaks down more slowly and can pass into groundwater where it can persist for weeks. Benzene does not accumulate in animals or plants. As a VOC, air-borne benzene can react with other air pollution to form ground levels ozone which can damage crops and materials.

Potential Human Health Impacts: Benzene is a proven carcinogen. Inhalation of extremely high levels of benzene (following an accidental release) could be fatal and longer term exposure to lower concentrations (in occupational settings for example) may damage blood-forming organs. When ingested or applied directly to the skin (only likely in occupational settings), benzene is very toxic. Inhalation of ground level ozone (in the formation of which benzene can be involved) can exacerbate respiratory conditions such as asthma.

SPRI Emission Reporting Threshold:
1,000 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Air
10.0 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Water
10.0 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Waste Water
200 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Land

Emission source: Fife Ethylene Plant (ExxonMobil)

Environmental Effects: The most serious environmental impact of BaP is its significant accumulation in organisms exposed to it. Aquatic organisms will also concentrate it. In water, BaP attaches strongly to sediments and any other solid matter. BaP released to soils tends to bind very strongly to the soils particles, but small amounts can leach to groundwaters. BaP is stable and can remain (and travel) in the environment for a long period of time - it is a Persistent Organic Pollutant (POP). Releases of BaP therefore cause concern at a global environmental level as well as on a local scale.

Potential Human Health Impacts: Benzo(a)pyrene can enter the body either by inhalation of air containing benzo(a)pyrene, ingestion of water or food containing benzo(a)pyrene, or by dermal contact with benzo(a)pyrene, contaminated soil or products containing benzo(a)pyrene. Inhalation of benzo(a)pyrene may cause respiratory tract irritation. Exposure to benzo(a)pyrene may damage the reproductive system and cause cancer. Ingestion of benzo(a)pyrene may cause gastrointestinal irritation. Dermal contact with benzo(a)pyrene may lead to skin irritation. In the natural environment benzo(a)pyrene occurs as part of a mixture of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs). The full effects of benzo(a)pyrene on human health are unknown, however studies have shown that inhlalation of PAHs or dermal contact with PAHs for long periods of time can cause cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has designated benzo(a)pyrene as a probable carcinogen.

SPRI Emission Reporting Threshold:
1.00 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Air
1.00 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Water
1.00 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Waste Water

Emission source: Fife Ethylene Plant (ExxonMobil)

Environmental Effects: Most Butadiene in the environment is found in the air. It evaporates easily from soil and water and does not build up in the environment. As a VOC, Butadiene can be involved in the formation of ground level ozone which can cause damage to crops and materials.

Potential Human Health Impacts: 1,3-Butadiene enters the body mainly by inhalation of air containing 1,3-butadiene. 1,3-Butadiene can enter the body by ingestion of contaminated food or water, or by dermal contact with petrol. Inhalation of air containing low levels of 1,3-butadiene can cause irritation of the eyes, nose and throat. Long term exposure to low levels may cause heart and lung damage. Exposure to high concentrations can result in a range of adverse health effects including damage to the central nervous system, blurred vision, nausea, headache, fatigue, decreased blood pressure and coma. The effects of ingestion of 1,3-butadiene are unknown. Dermal contact with 1,3 butadiene can cause skin irritation. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has designated 1,3-Butadiene as a possible carcinogen.

SPRI Emission Reporting Threshold:
100 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Air

Emission source: Fife Ethylene Plant (ExxonMobil), Fife NGL (Shell)

Environmental Effects: On a local scale, increased levels of carbon dioxide are unlikely to cause adverse environmental impacts. Its main impact is on a global scale: It is one of the main "greenhouse gases" contributing to global warming and is used as a reference against which to rate the "global warming potential" of other greenhouse gases.

Potential Human Health Impacts: At normal environmental concentrations, carbon dioxide has no impacts on human health. At extremely high (artificial) concentrations in an enclosed space the reduction in oxygen levels could lead to suffocation.

SPRI Emission Reporting Threshold:
10,000,000 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Air

Emission source: Fife Ethylene Plant (ExxonMobil), Fife NGL (Shell)

Environmental Effects: Carbon monoxide reacts with other pollutants in the air to form potentially harmful ground level ozone. This occurs close to the site of emission. It does not have any significant environmental effects at a global level.

Potential Human Health Impacts: Inhalation of carbon monoxide at high concentrations can be fatal, because it prevents the transport of oxygen (in blood) around the body. Releases from poorly maintained appliances in poorly ventilated spaces could result in concentrations high enough to cause death. Long-term exposure to lower concentrations (such as through smoking) could harm unborn babies or cause neurological damage.

SPRI Emission Reporting Threshold:
100,000 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Air

Emission source: Fife Ethylene Plant (ExxonMobil), 

Environmental Effects: Elevated levels of Ethene itself in the environment are common and are unlikely to harm wildlife or damage plants. However, as a VOC, Ethene can be involved in reactions that produce ground level ozone, which can damage crops and materials. It is not considered likely that Ethene pollution has any effects on the global environment.

Potential Human Health Impacts: Ethylene enters the body primarily by inhalation of air containing ethylene, but can also enter the body by dermal contact with ethylene. Ethylene is of low toxicity to humans and exposure to ethylene is unlikely to have any adverse health effects. However, inhalation of air containing extremely high levels of ethylene may lead to effects including headache, drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, weakness and unconsciousness. Studies have shown that ethylene is metabolised to ethylene oxide, which has more adverse effects on human health. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has designated ethylene as being not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has designated ethylene oxide as a carcinogen. However, exposure to ethylene at normal background levels is unlikely to have any adverse effect on human health.

SPRI Emission Reporting Threshold:
1.00 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Air

Emission source: Fife NGL (Shell), 

Environmental Effects: HCFCs are unlikely to have any impact on the environment in the immediate vicinity of their release. As VOCs, they may be slightly involved in reactions to produce ozone, which can cause damage to plants and materials on a local scale. At a global level however, releases of HCFCs have serious environmental consequences. Although not as stable and therefore not so persistent in the atmosphere as CFCs, HBFCs or Halons, they can still end up in the higher atmopshere (stratosphere) where they can destroy the ozone layer, thus reducing the protection it offers the earth from the sun's harmful UV rays. HCFCs also contribute to Global Warming (through "the Greenhouse Effect"). Although the amounts emitted are relatively small, they have a powerful warming effect (a very high "Global Warming Potential").

Potential Human Health Impacts: Hydrochlorofluorocarbons enter the body primarily by inhalation of air containing hydrochlorofluorocarbons, but can also enter the body by accidental ingestion of hydrochlorofluorocarbons, or by dermal contact with hydrochlorofluorocarbons. Inhalation of air containing high levels of some hydrochlorofluorocarbons may lead to health effects including chest tightness, irritation of the respiratory tract, and breathing difficulties. Exposure to high levels of some hydrochlorofluorocarbons may also affect the nervous system, heart, liver, kidney and reproductive system. Ingestion of some hydrochlorofluorocarbons may cause nausea, headache, dizziness and disorientation. Dermal contact with some hydrochlorofluorocarbons may cause skin irritation, dermatitis and frostbite. Hydrochlorofluorocarbons are involved in the destruction of the stratospheric ozone layer resulting in increased exposure to UV radiation which is known to cause skin cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has not designated hydrochlorofluorocarbons as a group in terms of their carcinogenicity. However, exposure to hydrochlorofluorocarbons at normal background levels is unlikely to have any adverse effect on human health.

SPRI Emission Reporting Threshold:
1.00 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Air

Emission source: Fife NGL (Shell), 

Environmental Effects: Releases of HFCs do not cause damage at a local level. They do however have a global environmental effect, as greenhouse gases contributing to global warming. Although their "global warming potential" is high (100-3000 times that of carbon dioxide), the relatively small amounts involved mean that they play a small role compared to other greenhouse gases. HFCs can persist in the environment for up to hundreds of years because of their high stability.

Potential Human Health Impacts: At environmental concentrations HFCs pose little threat to human health. At higher concentrations that might result from an accidental release or in occupational settings, they are thought to be mildly toxic and possibly carcinogenic.

SPRI Emission Reporting Threshold:
100 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Air

Emission source: Fife Ethylene Plant (ExxonMobil) Fife NGL (Shell), 

Environmental Effects: On a local scale, build up of methane poses an explosion hazard which can result in evacuation of areas over old landfills or mines. Compared to other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) methane does not contribute significantly to the formation of ground level ozone or photochemical smogs. The main impact of methane is on a global scale, as a greenhouse gas. Although levels of methane in the environment are relatively low, its high "global warming potential" (21 times that of carbon dioxide) ranks it amongst the worst of the greenhouse gases.

Potential Human Health Impacts: In the UK (including Scotland), emissions of methane are controlled through the regulation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) under the National Air Quality Strategy. Internationally, the main control over methane as a volatile organic compound (VOC) is through international UNECE Convention on Long-Range Transboundary AIr Pollution and the Basel Convention concerning the transboundary movement and disposal of hazardous wastes. Also, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (Kyoto Protocol, 1997) introduced measures (such as taxes on fossil fuels) designed to achieve reduction of greenhouse gas releases. Amongst the other signaturies from around the world, the UK government (including Scotland) is committed to reaching targets of reduction of methane emissions by 2008-2012.

SPRI Emission Reporting Threshold:
10,000 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Air

Emission source: Fife Ethylene Plant (ExxonMobil) Fife NGL (Shell), 

Environmental Effects: Species containing nitrogen are essential for plant nutrition. However, high levels of nitrogen dioxide and nitrogen monoxide damage plant life. Nitrogen dioxide also contributes to the formation of acid rain which damages vegetation, buildings and water bodies. Nitrogen dioxide is also involved in the formation of ground level ozone which damages vegetation and other materials. Nitrogen dioxide can react with other air pollutants to form peroxyacetyl nitrates (PANs) which then carry reactive and potentially damaging nitrogen-containing species for long distances.

Potential Human Health Impacts: Inhalation of higher than average environmental levels of nitrogen dioxide / nitrogen monoxide (found around congested urban roads for example) can cause respiratory problems, particularly in sensitive individuals such as asthmatics. Similar problems are experienced by sensitive individuals such as asthmatics after inhalation of ozone (which is formed using nitrogen dioxide). Nitrogen monoxide is also found naturally in the body and is involved in the cardiovascular (heart and blood circulation) and immune (disease protection) systems.

SPRI Emission Reporting Threshold:
100,000 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Air

Emission source: Fife Ethylene Plant (ExxonMobil) Fife NGL (Shell), 

Environmental Effects: Nitrous oxide does not have a local environmental impact. On a global scale however it does contribute to global warming and is the third most important greenhouse gas in the UK. Although relatively small amounts are released, it has a high "global warming potential" (310 times that of carbon dioxide). Nitrous oxide also damages the ozone layer, thus reducing the protection offered from harmful UV sun rays.

Potential Human Health Impacts: At normal environmental concentrations, nitrous oxide is not harmful to humans. Inhalation of higher concentrations in an enclosed space could however exclude oxygen - causing dizziness, nausea and eventually unconsciousness. Depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer (in which nitrous oxide plays a part) means that humans may be exposed to high doses of UV sunlight which might cause skin cancers.

SPRI Emission Reporting Threshold:
10,000 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Air

Emission source: Fife Ethylene Plant (ExxonMobil) Fife NGL (Shell), 

Environmental Effects: In the vicinity of their release many VOCs react with other air pollutants to produce ground level ozone which can damage crops and other materials. At a global level, methane is the main VOC that contributes significantly to global warming. Other VOCs are not released in sufficiently large amounts to play a major role. Some NMVOCs damage the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere, thus reducing the protection this offers from harmful UV sun rays.

Potential Human Health Impacts: Some NMVOCs are toxic to humans. Some (such as benzene and 1,3-butadiene) have been shown to be carcinogenic when there is sufficient exposure - in occupational settings for example. Inhalation of ground level ozone (in the formation of which VOCs play a strong part) can exacerbate respiratory conditions such as asthma.

SPRI Emission Reporting Threshold:
10,000 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Air

Emission source: Fife NGL (Shell), 

Environmental Effects: Local environmental damage is incurred from particulate pollution and includes damage to plants, materials and buildings. At a global level, recent research suggests that particulate pollution may contribute to global warming. It it thought that particulates may contaminate and reduce the reflective properties of other species in the atmosphere, which result in absorption rather than reflection of the suns rays and hence gives rise to a heating effect.

Potential Human Health Impacts: Exposure to particulate pollution has been linked to adverse health effects. When inhaled, particles can be carried into the lung and exacerbate respiratory conditions such as asthma. There has also been concern that some particulates may be carcinogenic. Smaller particles are thought to pose the most serious threats as they can be carried deeper into the lungs.

SPRI Emission Reporting Threshold:
10,000 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Air

Emission source: Fife Ethylene Plant (ExxonMobil), 

Environmental Effects: Local environmental damage is incurred from particulate pollution and includes damage to (blackening of) plants, materials and buildings. At a global level, recent research suggests that particulate pollution may contribute to global warming. It is thought that particulates may contaminate and reduce the reflective properties of other species in the atmosphere, which result in absorption rather than reflection of the suns rays and hence gives rise to a heating effect.

Potential Human Health Impacts: Exposure to particulate pollution has been linked to adverse health effects. When inhaled, particles can be carried into the lung and exacerbate respiratory conditions such as asthma. There has also been concern that some particulates may be carcinogenic. Smaller particles are thought to pose the most serious threats as they can be carried deeper into the lungs.

SPRI Emission Reporting Threshold:
50,000 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Air

Emission source: Fife Ethylene Plant (ExxonMobil), 

Environmental Effects: Exposure to high levels of Propene may harm wildlife. However, typical environmental levels are not sufficiently high to cause these effects. The main concern associated with releases of Propene is that, as a VOC, it may be involved in the formation of ground level ozone, which can damage crops and materials. It is not considered likely that Propene pollution has any effects on the global environment.

Potential Human Health Impacts: Propylene enters the body mainly by inhalation of air containing propylene, accidental ingestion of propylene (liquid form), or by dermal contact with propylene. Inhalation of high levels of propylene can lead to a range of adverse health effects including headaches, dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, poor coordination, memory loss, numbness of extremities, seizures and can cause asphyxia. Ingestion of propylene may cause vomiting, nausea and gastrointestinal haemorrhage. Dermal contact with propylene can cause skin burns and frostbite. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has designated propylene as being not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans. However, exposure to propylene at normal background levels is unlikely to have any adverse effect on human health.

SPRI Emission Reporting Threshold:
10,000 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Air

Emission source: Fife Ethylene Plant (ExxonMobil) Fife NGL (Shell), 

Environmental Effects: Sulphur dioxide can damage plants and reduce crop yields. Conversely, its antifungal properties can be beneficial for some plants. When sulphur dioxide levels are sufficiently high, it can combine with water vapour in the air to produce acids which can damage sensitive buildings or monuments. Sulphur dioxide also dissolves in water droplets in clouds which then fall as acid rain - sometimes thousands of kilometres from the site of emission. Acid rain damages vegetation and wildlife and pollutes water bodies.

Potential Human Health Impacts: Sulphur dioxide can irritate the eyes and respiratory system (air passages and lungs). Even at concentrations normally experienced in the environment it can harm sensitive individuals (such as those suffering from lung disease). Sulphur dioxide pollution contributed to the "great London smog" in 1952 which is thought to have contributed to around four thousand premature deaths of people with lung disease or bronchitis. This would not occur today as sulphur dioxide pollution has been dramatically reduced.

SPRI Emission Reporting Threshold:
100,000 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Air

Emission source: Fife Ethylene Plant (ExxonMobil), 

Environmental Effects: The properties of BTEX compounds mean that most releases end up in the atmosphere, although some can be bound (relatively briefly) to soils and sediments. They react with other air pollution and are broken down, returned to the earth or involved in the formation of photochemical smog. Normal environmental concentrations of BTEX are unlikely to damage the environment, but higher concentrations resulting from a spillage are moderately toxic to aquatic life. Significant bio-accumulation and concentration through the food chain is unlikely. As VOCs, BTEX compounds are involved in the formation of ground level ozone which can damage crops and materials. BTEX is not however thought to have any environmental effects at a global level.

Potential Human Health Impacts: Exposure to BTEX at normal environmental concentrations, and even to higher concentrations over a short period of time, is unlikely to damage health significantly. However long-term exposure to higher concentrations (usually only experienced in occupational settings) are toxic - damaging the liver, kidneys, central nervous system and eyes. Inhalation of ground level ozone (in the formation of which BTEX can be involved) can exacerbate respiratory conditions such as asthma.

SPRI Emission Reporting Threshold:
10,000 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Air

Have you been impacted by Mossmorran?

Submit a report to our Social Impact Map

Have you suffered from the operations at Mossmorran? Has your health been affected? Do you know of any Environmental or Social impacts from Mossmorran? Submit a report to our social impact map. All responses are in confidence and not shared with any 3rd parties. Data is anonymised before being added to the map.

Resident-led action group seeking redress from the long-term social, health and environmental impacts from the Mossmorran facilities in Central Fife operated by ExxonMobil (Fife Ethylene Plant) and Shell (Fife NGL).

Contact

  • 6 Ballingry Street, Lochgelly, KY5 9NW
  • Mail : info@mossmorran.org.uk

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  • Tel.: 01333 720 378
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