Many people attending a hearing have expressed opposition to a proposal allowing the Marathon refinery in southwestern Detroit to increase emissions of at least eight air pollutants.

At least 150 residents attended the Wednesday meeting in River Rouge days after the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality announced the proposal. The agency plans to consider public comments before taking final actions on Marathon's applications.

Company officials say the change is needed to meet U.S. federal air pollution standards for gasoline. The state says its analysis finds emissions increases fall within allowable regulations.

"The project at the refinery will enable the facility to produce fuels that comply with the EPA regulation by reducing sulfur dioxide emissions from gasoline. As a result of this project, we expect that the refinery's emission levels will continue to be well below those allowed under its existing permit," Marathon communications manager Jamal T. Kheiry said in an email to CBC News.

Some residents say the findings by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality ignore health problems, such as widespread asthma.

Emma Lockridge says the "numbers mean nothing to us" as she deals with strong odours. Johnny Haynes invited officials to visit for a couple weeks "to see what's going on."

The refinery is across from LaSalle, Ont., about 6.5 km inland from the Detroit River, west of Zug Island.

With files from CBC News