§ Mr. Andrew Welsh
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has regarding the toxic and carcinogenic properties of unleaded petrol; and what assessment he has made of the effects of using benzene in such petrol.
§ Mr. Roger Freeman
I have been asked to reply.
We are not aware of any information to suggest that there are toxic or carcinogenic properties specific to unleaded petrol.
Benzene is toxic at high doses and is classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a human carcinogen on the basis of data from workers who were exposed to high levels in the past. The concentration of benzene permitted in petrol is regulated under a European directive and it is not used as an additive to substitute for lead.