Air Quality Testing

I emailed all the environmental consultants in the area. Several of them followed up my inquiry with a phone call. This is what I learned about getting the air quality in my house tested for gasoline vapours and benzene:

  • there are tests using a cannister device where I could gather the air samples myself. However, these would not be admissable as evidence in a legal context as there is no way to verify that I took the samples where I did, when I did, and if I had attempted to skew the results or they were an honest sample
  • a professional could come to take air quality samples inside my home. These are considered reliable evidence. The cost for this would be approximately $ 2200.00, including a written report of the lab results. Of course this would be a matter of luck that the testing personnel would be here during a gasoline infiltration to gather the samples. Not every fill results in an infiltration, which seems to be dependent on the wind direction. Potentially I could spend many thousands of dollars before I had documentation that gasoline vapours were strongly present in my home during a tanker filling.
  • there are no grants for a homeowner in my situation
  • the burden of proof is that I must establish that gasoline vapours are entering my house. The gas station or parent company has no responsibility to disprove the presence of gasoline vapours on or in my property.

At no time has the TSSA or Ministry of the Environment taken any air tests to prove that the air quality adjacent to the vent is safe during a tanker refuelling. I know that it is not.

Garbage Exasperation

On numerous occasions I have observed a curious habit at the gas station.

Bags of garbage and miscellaneous debris are placed beside or behind their dumpster, but not IN it. I think it is locked, so perhaps staff cannot always find the key ? Several bags of garbage piled behind the dumpster for weeks froze onto the ground and sat there for more weeks. This week a disturbing bundle was wrapped in what appeared to be a pink child’s blanket. I hoped it wasn’t a dead animal. I prodded it with my foot, and it was plumbing or heating plastic elbow joints = ???

Now the gas station can’t stop people from attempting to put their trash into their dumpster (ie private rental property they pay for). However – the staff could certainly put all trash adjacent to the dumpster, IN the dumpster. This is a minimum expectation for staff.

This is the reason that enclosures are built around dumpsters – to make them less terrible to look at, and so people who aren’t authorized users have less access to them.

When there’s a windy day, the trash that isn’t frozen to the ground blows down the street. No one recovers the XL box from the display drink cooler, or the packaging from lighters or bulk chocolate bars. None of this debris comes from any other neighbours.

Why aren’t they recycling the cardboard ?

It’s maddening. I walked by this trash for a week until I photographed it today. Seriously.






Conversational Gems: Property Values

(Image by Lee Miller)

While having one of several spats with the gas station manager, he claimed that having this gas station and convenience store next door to my house would increase my property value.

Citation needed, young dude.

Here’s an article titled ” 10 Industries that Diminish Property Values the Most”:

Convenience store with gas station, # 2 on that list.

“Cemeteries, highways, gas stations: Here’s what decreases your property value”:

Community and Environmental Defense Services, a US organization has a long article with many links about gas stations and convenience stores, and the impact they may have on a community.

The article breaks down the issues which are about zoning, groundwater pollution and the health impacts on people living in the area, and addresses negative issues like lighting, noise, increased crime, traffic and blighting.

“How Safe are Gas Stations ?”

This article addresses a gas station/convenience store’s impact on a neighbourhood, even the ones that are “sited with intent” but also addresses gas stations “long term offsite impacts”.

I couldn’t find any articles about how a convenience store/gas station improved the property value of area residents, though I tried.

I mean – I understood that the location of my house between a factory and a used car lot was going to affect the value. If I was in a beautiful location in the nicest part of town with the same house my property would have cost more. If my house was in a terrible location in Toronto it would be worth at least 5x as much. That’s the value of location. However, I did not know that the City of London offers no protection for a house that is situated next to a commercial property, unless the commercial property is a brand new development from scratch.

Due to the TSSA’s stranglehold on fuel handling code, no Ontario municipality has ANY say about how far a vent has to be located from a residence, or the distance a gas station must be from a residence. However, many much smaller municipalities do have explicit bylaws about fencing between a commercial property and a residence, enclosures for garbage, landscaping and buffering zones:

Click to access 06.pdf

Prince George, B.C. has a population of approximately 74,000.

London, ON’s 2016 census says it had a population of 494, 069 in the greater metropolitan area. What gives, City of London ?


Gas Infiltration Questions

The infiltration of gasoline vapours into my house is happening even when I have all the doors and windows closed.

How is the gas vapour getting INTO my house ?

There are storm windows on most of the windows – mostly vintage aluminum triple track ones with screens, but I have a couple of antique wood ones, too.

The doors on the house are the original wood doors, with the exception of the door on the back porch, with the vintage aluminum storm door. Oh, and the wood storm door on the kitchen is a replacement, that has a tempered glass insert.

I have door sweeps on all the exterior doors, except the back porch. I also have a door sweep on the door that leads to the back porch from the kitchen, and both foyer doors. Both foyer doors are original to the house and fit properly in their jambs.

I have weather stripping on the kitchen door and the front door.

The vintage aluminum storm windows are attached with screws and a horrid amount of caulk. This led to irreparable damage on several window sills as there wasn’t any place for condensation to go but down. The rotten window sills have been replaced.

I had a blower test done before I had the new furnace installed, then again after so I could qualify for the rebate. It showed a few places where there was some air leakage around a few windows, even the ones with glued on storm windows. I replaced the broken basement window, sealed up the terrible powder room fan vent hole and caulked along the baseboards on exterior walls.

There are no obvious gaping holes on my house. There’s a little missing mortar here and there, minor.

The front door is slightly smaller than the jamb. Any door has to be or it will not open or close properly. London is very humid so a wood door in a wood jamb that fits tightly in the winter might not close at all in summer. A door is usually about 1/4″ (7mm) narrower in with than the opening, and about 1/2″ shorter..

The sash windows have to be slightly smaller so they can open and close as well. There is no significant rot on any of the wood sash window frames, and they are all still seated properly. A couple of panes have small cracks but the glass is not loose or missing. I have replaced most of the damaged glazing putty on the ground floor windows. I have curtains or blinds on most of my windows which help with privacy and retaining heat.

Houses that are sealed too tightly have indoor air quality problems.

Depending on the wind speed and direction a room might be cozy or drafty.

Gasoline vapours are entering my house because they are vapours. They are forced in and through minute openings around the doors and windows by the wind direction. This is not an error or deficit in my house’s construction.

Gasoline vapours are entering my house because of the vents made for vapour release, from the underground storage tank, which are in a dangerous and inappropriate location.

I could remove all my original windows and doors and replace them with inferior modern garbage doors and windows. Maybe even frames and jambs, too. I would still suffer from the infiltration of gasoline vapours because the vent is situated too close to any doors and windows, in violation of TSSA’s own guidelines.

Perhaps if my house was a windowless extra thick-walled industrial building, situated as far back as possible on the lot, with the front door situated on the south wall, also near the back of the lot, then the gasoline vapours would not enter the building ?


Mutants ?



A couple of years ago I got some free morning glory seeds from the seed exchange at the library. They did okay on the chain link fence by the used car lot’s washrooms. I saved those seeds and planted them the following year.

I saved all the seeds in one jar, and planted them as they fell into my hand. The first year’s morning glories were a mix of common light purple and regular dark purple ones.

The first morning glories that bloomed in 2018 were closest to the house. They were mostly white with pale pink centres, a few with purple fragments or streaks. The rest of the vines further away from the house were all regular purple and dark purple ones. I wondered how the white and streaked seeds were only in this location, as they weren’t mixed in anywhere else ? How did they self select from a random planting ?

It took months before it occured to me that those white morning glories might have been affected by the gas fumes. The plants right below the vent pipes were normal. The fumes wouldn’t sink like a stone unless the air was perfectly still – they would travel a short distance as they dissipated and sunk…

When I collected the seeds in the fall the white and streaked plants were different. Normally the seed pods have about 4-6 seeds, from every flower. The white ones only had a single seed, occasionally a second stunted seed.

I’m not a plant biologist, but this seems odd, and significant. The only seeds I planted the second year were from the first year’s plants ?




Effects of Gasoline Inhalation on Humans

Oh sure, car companies are making their product greener than ever before. Yeah, gas companies are making their product burn more “cleanly” whatever that means.

Here’s some light reading:

(Underground gas tank storage leak exposes many residents to low level benzene in the gasoline for years. Elevated leukemia rates ensue.)

(2011 Spanish study recommends that residences should be a minimum 50 yards away from the closest gas station, after measuring pollutants particularly benzene. 100 yards distance is recommended for schools, health care facilities, etc.)

(Columbia University study discovers that the airborne losses from gas fumes via vents are TEN TIMES as much as originally believed. More benzene is released from venting than previously thought. You know, that carcinogen.”The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s Minimal Risk Level (MRL) for benzene exposure over a period between two weeks and a year was exceeded within 7 or 8 meters of the two gas stations.”)

(Small spills at gas stations while refuelling create a cumulative risk, including benzene contamination of soil and groundwater.)

Click to access tp72.pdf

(1995 EPA report on the Toxicological Profile for Gasoline. Many documented effects via various routes including inhalation, skin exposure, oral exposure. Negative outcomes include DEATH, neurological problems, heart problems, cancer, reproductive problems, breathing problems, chemical burns and so on.)

(Lightweight article outlines health effects of gasoline exposure, including gas huffing)

(University level textbook chapter about gasoline toxicity)

(1994 “Neurotoxic Effects of Gasoline and Gasoline Constituents”. “Occupational exposure to gasoline has been associated with numerous signs of neurotoxicity. Significant effects on intellectual capacity, psychomotor and vasomotor function, immediate and delayed memory, and an increased proportionate mortality rate(PMR) due to mental and psychoneurotic conditions have been reported for gasoline service workers…”)

(2011 Study of the Adverse Health effects from living in proximity to industry, including of course gas stations. Adverse Pregnancy outcomes, childhood cancers, cardiovascular, respiratory illnesses and other diseases are increased with variable results from the proximity. Hint: this proximity in no way increases positive health outcomes.)

(2018 Globe and Mail story about a study that found that children ages 2 -6 who lived close to gas stations were four times more likely to develop leukemia and eight times more likely to develop acute non-lymphocytic leukemia)

(2012 paper about benzene induced leukemia in humans and risk assessment. “Benzene is associated with multiple adverse health effects. It was shown to induce hemotoxicity in humans over 100 years ago…” “Benzene metabolism is inherently complex and occurs principally in the liver and also in the lung with secondary metabolism occuring in the bone marrow.” )

If you are tired of reading you can watch this:


There is substantial research on the negative effects of gasoline and gasoline additives. This is not news, and is much worse than previously considered.

Yet there are no guidelines from the CSA or the TSSA on the distance underground gasoline storage tank vents should be from a residential property. In Canada. In 2019.


Yet Another Gas Infiltration

As of today (Feb.26, 2019) I had my third gas infiltration in one month.

I noticed it as I always do, by smell, upstairs. I followed my nose and the fumes were all over the house. 3:10 p.m..

I ran to Brutus, worried that this infiltration might make him a goner.

I made another report to the Ministry of the Environment, as I will keep doing.

How many drops of poison does it take to taint the well ?


Honky (Sick -July 2018 – Jan.2019):


Not long after the gas station opened at the beginning of July, 2018, I noticed something was wrong with my big white cat, Honky. His eyes were often puffy and red, and he had gotten increasingly picky about food. During one mealtime Honky began running all over the house, growling and hissing. I didn’t know if he was being bothered by one of the other cats or if he had been stung by an insect or what. It was very odd.

This happened again a few days later. Then it started happening almost daily. He was really upset and panicked. His reaction was like getting zapped with an electric shock. I figured he must have a bad tooth that needed to come out, so we went to the vet.  Honky had an abscess over his upper fang. He was given an antibiotic, which helped him to feel a little better, and some pain meds. The pain medication was supposed to be given orally. It was a small amount of liquid that is applied to the inner cheek. However – getting ANYTHING in the mouth of a cat with severe oral pain is nearly impossible. Honky obviously felt terrible.

After he had the extraction(s) I hoped he would be on the mend. I had been through dental stuff with several other cats and usually they start to feel so much better in a few days, when their mouth isn’t tender any more, with the bad tooth or teeth gone. Honky seemed like he felt a little bit better, though not as much as I expected.

The puffy red eyes were still coming and going. I wondered what was causing this ? The vet didn’t know. It wasn’t mechanical – like when a cat has entropian eyelids (the eyelids turn in and the hair irritates the eyes).

After the first gasoline infiltration I wondered if this was causing it ? The puffy eyes were not directly coinciding with the day of a refuelling, though ?  Sometimes he was weepy and squinting. His eyes were never pus-y – like with a bacterial infection. He seemed like he felt unspecifically rotten, but I had no idea what was going on. His pre-surgical bloodwork had been perfectly normal, with only a couple of values slightly elevated due to the abscess.

In November the terrible mouth things began again. He acted like he had been given an electric shock when he was eating. Sometimes this would even happen when he wasn’t eating. He would be normal then suddenly he would be snarling and screeching in pain, running all over the house. Was there a retained root or a bad tooth that had been overlooked ?

Back to the vet, booked in for more probable extractions. It’s very hard to get a good look in a healthy cat’s mouth at the best of times, but a cat in acute mouth pain is not going to volunteer. The vet would get a better look while he was under. He suspected it was a condition called Stomatitis. The body launches an immune response against plaque. The gums get very raw, and in the worst cases the lining of the throat gets very inflamed and turns bright lipstick red. There can also be oral ulcers. There is no cure for Stomatitis. A full mouth extraction is a last resort, but can help some cats.  I previously dealt with Stomatitis in a couple of cats – and their issues and symptoms were similar to each others. Whatever was going on with Honky was odd, especially with the eye symptoms. A few more teeth came out. His gums looked bad but not the worst, and there were a few small ulcerated areas.

By this time Honky had become frightened about eating, and would only eat one type of pureed food, only in one type of dish. At mealtimes he would hide, and I would have to search for him. He would only eat after I pet him and soothed him and held the dish while he slowly ate, in a room with the door shut. Several weeks after the last round of extractions the horrible electric shock reaction returned again. I woke up with Honky snarling on the bed – not eating anything. It was very upsetting and awful. There were  more trips back to the vet. His mouth was healing fine, the stitches were dissolving properly, and the ulcerated areas seemed like they had started to heal. But the pain wasn’t leaving.

I wondered if euthanasia was the only kind solution ? Not only did he feel physically terrible, he was withdrawn and fearful about something as basic as eating. I felt awful having put him through two dental surgeries that didn’t seem to help at all.

I was reluctant to allow a steroid injection – if what was going on was stomatitis. Most cats have worse flare ups when the steroids wear off. Steroids are not without risk. A friend’s cat had a steroid shot for a flea allergy and died suddenly of heart failure the next day. Steroid use can also induce diabetes in some cats.

I read as much as I could about possible diagnoses, and treatment options. Different conditions can cause mouth ulcers. Chemical exposure can cause mouth ulcers and eye irritation. Lupus can cause mouth ulcers, but he didn’t have any other symptoms. Cats in late stage kidney failure can get mouth ulcers – but his bloodwork showed he was NOT in kidney failure, not even at stage 1. Stomatitis can cause mouth ulcers but not puffy eyes. Some research suggested that Bartonella (a blood borne parasite transmitted by fleas) caused stomatitis, and could also cause eye problems. Other research hotly disputed this theory, with many citations. Most cats in areas with fleas have been exposed to Bartonella, and will test positive and few get sick from it. Even testing for it is useless due to how widespread this is.

A Bartonella infection seemed to sort of fit what was going on with Honky. Even the treatment plans are widely different, with many different approaches. Honky was given a steroid injection. After about a week his mouth seemed to finally be healing, and he was now eating cautiously, but normally. The plan was, if his mouth was healing, that he would start a long course of an oral antibiotic thought to resolve a Bartonella infection. He’s responded to treatment, so far, so good.

The bigger question is what made this infection overtake his body like this, if this is what the problem was ? Honky has always been a healthy guy, aside from some genetically bad teeth. What turned on his immune response like this ?

Birdy (Sick then euthanized Dec./2018)


Birdy was a petite odd eyed white cat who had been with me since 2005. She got her name from being abandoned on the doorstep of a former vet, in a birdcage.

Birdy was a lone wolf type, stuck in a household of several to many cats. I volunteered with a cat rescue and had many foster cats come and go. Birdy probably would have been happiest being an only cat, but I didn’t know that when I adopted her. Her solution was to live by herself in the bedroom, as much as possible. She had her special food, and water, and her solitary litterbox in there, and this suited her fine. She could come out of the bedroom when she felt like it – which she did sometimes. She just had no interest in making cat friends.

Since she became an older gal, she developed hyperthyroidism. This is a benign growth on the thyroid gland. No one knows why so many older cats are developing this, but it is very common. Birdy took twice a day medication to control the condition, and it had been well managed. She had been on this medication since 2015.

At the end of November I got really sick with food poisoning. The culprit turned out to be some new cheese I had just purchased, as I accidentally repoisoned myself with it to extend my misery. The cats seemed unnerved by my malaise and odd hours of sleeping and waking during that wretched week.

I noticed Birdy was being a little picky about her food, but seemed otherwise her normal self during the days and nights of nausea. I wondered if she was just sympathetic ? She got even pickier and was struggling with constipation and dehydration. Constipation had been a constant issue for her, for years, as she was very stubborn and would only eat one type of dry food. She was given a stool softener on all her meals, but the dose sometimes had to be adjusted. Too much would make her barf, and not quite enough would not offer relief.

Once I was well enough to leave the house for more than a few minutes I bought groceries. Birdy seemed excited about the roast chicken I offered her, but would only eat a few tiny bites. This was not right.

I took her to the vet the next day (Tuesday). She was looked over and seemed thin, and okayish – except for her dehydration. At this point she was still jumping into my arms. I took home supplies for subcutaneous fluids, and hoped this could help her over a rough patch. She didn’t seem to be responding to the fluids, so I admitted her to the clinic on Weds. for a day of IV fluids. She seemed slightly improved when I picked her up, but even with an appetite stimulant wasn’t interested in eating much. She went back for more IV fluids on Thursday. Her color was starting to become worrisome, she was begining to look yellowish. Cats that suddenly stop eating can develop a condition called Hepatic Lipidosis – Fatty Liver Syndrome. The cats that develop this are usually overweight cats who stop eating who suddenly lose a large portion of their body weight. I had been assist feeding her a high calorie food called A/D since she became worrisomely fussy, starting Monday. It didn’t seem like Hepatic Lipidosis was what was going on. I kept hoping that she would turn a corner. She spent Thursday on IV fluids, but seemed about the same. At home she wasn’t interested in being close to me which was unusual. I took her back on Friday for more IV and had bloodwork run. The vet called me around noon to discuss the results. it was very, very grave. She had severe kidney failure, anemia and liver failure. She was not responding to IV fluids at all.  The dumb part of my brain was still hopeful, while the rest of my brain that knew that responding to IV hydration was the bare minimum of survival and recovery. The vet was very kind and patiently asked me questions. It was obvious that Birdy wasn’t recovering, and felt progressively worse. Euthanasia was the only kind and realistic option.

If you have never had to make this decision you have no idea how tough it is, and how terrible it is to schedule this event. I had a couple of hours to prepare myself, and they were horrible hours. When I got to the clinic (weeping the whole way) the staff whisked me to the special room they had in the back, with dim lights and soft furniture. I had been through euthanasias before. I understood that if I didn’t feel that it was the right time yet, that I could say so, and that until the point that the euthanasia drug is administered the procedure does not have to occur.

Animals are often sedated prior to euthanasia. The Birdy they brought me was limp, nearly comatose. I asked if she had already been sedated. She hadn’t. Her body temperature was dropping and her breathing was starting to slow. She was starting to die, on her own. Natural death can be a protracted and painful process that can take a long time. I just wanted to release her. She died instantly with the injection. I saw how the pink color of her toes turned ghastly pale when her heart stopped beating. My heart broke.

Here’s the thing about Birdy : she spent most of her time in the north bedroom, my bedroom. This is the bedroom that is closest to the gas station vents. The window was always open a crack, and the door usually shut. She would have had the most exposure to the gasoline vapours.

There was a passing reference in a paper about human health and exposure to gasoline vapours, regarding animals:

Right. Liver and Kidney tumours. Page 5. Published June 1995.

“Some animals that breathed high concentrations of unleaded gasoline vapours continuously for 2 years developed liver and kidney tumours.”

Birdy had bloodwork done in June and there were no signs of early renal failure at that time. She never had liver issues or even slight anemia.

Brutus (Sick -Feb. 2019)


Brutus looks like a tough guy but has special needs. He has a condition called megacolon. The nerves in his gut don’t work properly, which can result in severe constipation or obstipation (poop that is too big to pass). He gets fed watered down canned food only, with a stool softener added to 100% of his meals, which he eats in a separate room with the door shut. Brutus’ greatest love is other cat’s dry food – which he will gorge himself on until he is completely plugged up and feels like his belly is full of painful gravel. The cats are only fed at mealtimes, no bowls of kibble for 24/7 free feeding.  He is also a chronic carrier of Hemobartonella (not the same as Bartonella, but also a flea borne blood parasite) aka Feline Infectious Anemia. He’s had a couple of flare ups of this in the 10 years he’s been with me. It can be fatal if untreated, but the symptoms are pretty obvious to me now. So far it has responded to a course of doxycycline. Other than that he is just a normal cat.

He was rescued from the euthansia list from Hamilton Animal Control. They used to have a policy that cats at the city shelter had three days to be found by their owner or euthanized. Something like 95% of the cats at that shelter were euthanized, as many as Toronto which is a much, much bigger city. They’ve changed some policies and I’ve heard Hamilton is much better now in this regard. Anyhow – I said I would foster Brutus, then realized that his issues made him unadoptable. I had also gotten too attached between all the worry and drama of Brutus and his problems – which were of course completely unknown as a sad cat in a cage with a big X on his chart.

On Feb. 9, 2019 I had another gas infiltration. You don’t have to go back very far here to read about it. It was the second infiltration in 10 days. This had never happened before. The most terrifying thing is that there is NOTHING I can do to get rid of the gas fumes. Even if I opened all my doors and windows – the fumes are coming from OUT THERE. Doing this would just let more gasoline vapours IN.

The next day, Feb.10, 2019, Brutus seemed a little off his food. He barfed up his breakfast shortly after he ate. He ate some of his supper but seemed like he wasn’t feeling great. The next day he ate about half his normal meals, and seemed dehydrated.

On Monday night (Feb. 11) I was giving him a once over and discovered his lips looked yellowish. This was really not good.

He went to the vet the next morning.  I was feeling especially fearful as this is exactly how Birdy’s troubles started out, too. The vet was nervous but she didn’t say so. In vet speak: “A yellow cat is a dead cat.” Jaundice is a symptom of very serious liver issues that are difficult to properly diagnose and treat. Brutus’ bloodwork was very alarming. His liver values were crazy sky high. For a cat with these results, you would expect a severely nauseated, weak cat with a tender belly that can barely stand. Yet while Brutus was under the weather he seemed sort of okay ?

In contrast to Birdy’s bloodwork, Brutus was not anemic, did not have kidney failure and was responding to IV fluids. Getting an accurate diagnosis for cat liver problems is a challenge, that usually involves an ultrasound, needle biopsy and possibly a surgical biopsy. This gets expensive, and invasive, particularly for a cat in potentially frail condition. The possible reasons for Brutus’ liver problems were Hepatic Lipidosis (he had been eating every day, so unlikely), a blockage in his liver or gallbladder ducts, a cyst or tumour, possibly cancerous, or an infection.

The biopsy process is not without risks, particularly as cats with liver problems can develop blood clotting problems.

It seemed that since he was responding to IV fluids, that he was probably not blocked, and that it was probably not a tumour. The best guess was that he had an infection. He was started on antibiotics and retested the next week. While his liver values were still above normal, they had come down considerably, so he was responding to the treatment. Brutus’ condition was confusing. He seems like he will be okay (I say this cautiously). Even during other health crises, Brutus never had liver issues.

I am extremely concerned that this sudden, apparently acute decline happened the very next day after another infiltration. What would any reasonable person think, in this situation ?

Gasoline vapours are heavier than air so they sink. The cats would breathe a more concentrated amount of vapours, for a longer period of time, when the house was infiltrated, as the fumes settle on the floor at ground level.

I hate this so much.

Will the rest of my cats start to fall like dominoes, too ? This is already too many.