Analyses of the air quality in one of the largest petrochemical regions of Canada revealed the presence of concentrated toxic clouds according to a “Nobel Prize” laboratory at the University of California, Irvine laboratory. These analyses reflect the results that had already been obtained confirming the presence of carcinogenic substances in the northeast of Edmonton. Although only a sample was collected, the results are “not due to random”, according to the head of the laboratory, Donald Blake. Researchers visited the region known as the “industrial heart of Alberta” in June 2012, which includes more than 40 petrochemical companies. 96 air samples were collected in the vicinity and in rural areas upstream of the wind. The majority of the results are below safe limits for Alberta. But between the 8th and 12th of July of this year, researchers detected significant increases in the levels of benzene, a carcinogenic substance that has no safe level, during three days. One sample indicated the presence of 11 parts per billion (ppb) of benzene, another 24 ppb, and a third, 156 ppb. Alberta recommends that the rate of benzene does not exceed 9 ppb during an average of an hour . According to Mr. Blake, “If this is something that the wind brings in a home and the home receives five to 20 parts per billion benzene all the time, it starts to worry me,” he said. It was the third visit by the laboratory in the Alberta industrial heartland. In 2008 and 2010, results, reviewed by peers and published, revealed the presence in the air of chemical substances that cause smog at levels comparable – and sometimes even superior – to the largest cities and the largest industrial centers of the world. At least 10 toxic products detected in the clouds were substances carcinogenic either known, or suspected. The researchers also found that the prevalence of blood cancer in men between 1997 and 2006 in the three counties surrounding the area was significantly higher than in neighboring counties. A causal relationship has however never been established. A spokesman for the Alberta Department of the Environment said that the recommended air quality standards followed by the agency’s monitoring of industrial heartland were established by a group made up of representatives of the government,industry and environmentalists. However, she declined to comment on the results of the California laboratory.