DENTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Air samples taken near a gas well in Denton showed increased levels of benzene, along with other chemicals, according to data released by the Denton Drilling Awareness Group on Thursday. The data, and infrared video of vapor releases from energy company facilities, comes days before the group is expected to officially file a petition to ban the fracking process in the city.

The air testing was done in a backyard in the Vintage neighborhood on the city’s south end. The neighborhood has been a focal point for the fracking fight in Denton, with gas wells within just a few hundred feet of homes.

A California lab showed benzene readings at 6.5 micrograms per cubic meter of air. That is two points higher than the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s limits for long-term exposure risks.

CBS 11 News has asked city officials for any of their own air monitoring data from the area. A TCEQ monitoring network that the city refers visitors to on its website does not have equipment in that immediate neighborhood.

DAG also released video, using an infrared camera, of vapor releases from three facilities in the city.

The lab data showed the presence of at least eight other compounds, but none except benzene appeared to be over the limits used as a standard by the TCEQ. Benzene is an irritant to the skin, eyes and throat. It is also a known carcinogen over time.

DAG already has enough signatures on a petition to ban fracking in the city, to force it to a city referendum. It is expected to be formally submitted next week.

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