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Chemical Sampling Information (CSI)
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General Description

Synonyms: Benzine; Benzol; Cyclohexatriene

OSHA IMIS Code Number: 0320


Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 71-43-2


NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: CY1400000


Department of Transportation Regulation Number (49 CFR 172.101) and 2012 Emergency Response Guidebook [4 MB PDF, 392 pages]: 1114 130


NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards - Benzene: Physical description, chemical properties, potentially hazardous incompatibilities, and more

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Hazard Summary - Benzene: Uses, sources and potential exposure, acute and chronic health hazard information, and more

Exposure Limits and Health Effects

Exposure Limit

Limit Values

HE Codes

Health Factors and Target Organs

OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) - General Industry
See 29 CFR 1910.1028

1 ppm
TWA

5 ppm
STEL

HE1

Leukemia

HE7

Central nervous system excitation followed by central nervous system depression

HE8

Loss of consciousness, respiratory paralysis, death (very high concentrations)

HE12

Nonmalignant blood disorders (bleeding, anemia, aplastic anemia, thrombocytopenia, leukopenia)

HE14

Eye, nose, and respiratory irritation

OSHA PEL - Sectors Excluded from General Industry
See 1910.1000 Table Z-2
(See also Z37.40-1969)

Note: These values apply to the industry segments exempt from the 1 ppm 8-hour TWA and 5 ppm STEL of the benzene standard at 1910.1028.

10 ppm
TWA

25 ppm
Ceiling

50 ppm Maximum peak above ceiling
(10 minutes)

HE12

Blood disorders (anemia, leukopenia, aplastic anemia)

HE14

Eye, nose, and respiratory irritation

OSHA PEL - Construction Industry
See 29 CFR 1926.1128

1 ppm
TWA

5 ppm
STEL

HE1

Leukemia

HE7

Central nervous system excitation followed by central nervous system depression

HE8

Loss of consciousness, respiratory paralysis, death (very high concentrations)

HE12

Nonmalignant blood disorders (bleeding, anemia, aplastic anemia, thrombocytopenia, leukopenia)

HE14

Eye, nose, and respiratory irritation

OSHA PEL - Shipyard Employment
See 29 CFR 1915.1028

1 ppm
TWA

5 ppm
STEL

HE1

Leukemia

HE7

Central nervous system excitation followed by central nervous system depression

HE8

Loss of consciousness, respiratory paralysis, death (very high concentrations)

HE12

Nonmalignant blood disorders (bleeding, anemia, aplastic anemia, thrombocytopenia, leukopenia)

HE14

Eye, nose, and respiratory irritation

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL)

0.1 ppm
TWA

1 ppm
STEL

Ca

HE1

Leukemia

HE4

Gastrointestinal irritation and anorexia; cardiac sensitization

HE7

Central nervous system depression; convulsions and paralysis; polyneuritis

HE11

Pulmonary edema, pneumonia

HE12

Bone marrow damage, aplastic anemia

HE14

Eye, mucous membrane, and skin irritation; dermatitis

American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV) (2001)

0.5 ppm
(1.6 mg/m3)
TWA

2.5 ppm
(8 mg/m3)
STEL

A1; Skin; BEI

HE1

Leukemia, including acute myelogenous leukemia

CAL/OSHA PELs
(See also Section 5218)

1 ppm
TWA

5 ppm
STEL

Skin

 

 

National Toxicology Program (NTP) carcinogenic classification: Known to be a human carcinogen [139 KB PDF, 3 pages]

International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) carcinogenic classification: Group 1 (carcinogenic to humans)

EPA carcinogenic classification: Known/likely human carcinogen

EPA Inhalation Reference Concentration (RfC): 3x10-2 mg/m3

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) Inhalation Minimal Risk Levels (MRLs): 0.009 ppm (acute); 0.006 ppm (intermediate); 0.003 ppm (chronic)

NIOSH Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH) concentration: 500 ppm

Notes on Other Potential Health Effects and Hazards

  1. Benzene is a flammable liquid whose vapors can form explosive mixtures (NIOSH/IPCS 2003).
  2. While percutaneous absorption of liquid benzene through intact human skin can be limited, the absorbed dose via direct dermal contact, combined with that received from body surface exposure to benzene in workplace air, is such that a substantial fraction of the total exposure is due to skin absorption (ACGIH 2001).
  3. Phenol levels in urine have been used as an index of benzene exposure, where concentrations of 200 mg/L urine indicate an approximate exposure of 25 ppm benzene in air (OSHA 1980).
  4. Ventricular fibrillation has been suggested as the cause of death following benzene vapor exposures (ATSDR 2007).
  5. Myalgia has been reported as a symptom of exposure to benzene vapors (ATSDR 2007).
  6. Benzene may also affect the renal system, as kidney congestion has been found following fatal inhalational exposure (ATSDR 2007).
  7. An association may exist between occupational exposure to benzene and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and multiple myeloma (ATSDR 2007).
  8. Benzene appears to affect the immune system, where workers have been shown to have decreased levels of leukocytes and circulating antibodies (ATSDR 2007).
  9. Exposure to benzene is associated with aneuploidies in blood cells and sperm (Ji et al. 2012).
  10. Exposure to benzene may play a role in infertility, as workers have increased incidence of chromosomally defective sperm, which could result in spontaneous abortions, mental retardation, and inherited defects in their children (Marchetti et al. 2012).
  11. An association may exist between mothers exposed to benzene and children with spina bifida (Lupo et al. 2011).
  12. Exposure to benzene may increase the risk of acoustic neuroma, a benign intracranial tumor (Prochazka et al. 2010).
  13. In one study, no association was found between occupational benzene exposure and breast cancer (Peplonska et al. 2010). However, another study "moderately supports" an association between benzene and breast cancer (Costantini et al. 2009).

Date Last Revised: 9/6/2012

Literature Basis

  • ACGIH: Documentation of the Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) and Biological Exposure Indices (BEIs) - Benzene. 2001.
  • ANSI (formerly United States of America Standards Institute): USA Standard Acceptable Concentrations of Benzene. September 1969.
  • ATSDR: Toxicological Profile for Benzene. 2007.
  • Costatini, A.S., Gorini, G., Consonni, D., Miligi, L., Giovannetti, L., Quinn, M.: Exposure to benzene and risk of breast cancer among shoe factory workers in Italy. Tumori. 95(1):8-12, January-February 2009.
  • Ji, Z., Weldon, R.H., Marchetti, F., Chen, H., Li, G., Xing, C., Kurtovich, E., Young, S., Schmid, T.E., Waidyanatha, S., Rappaport, S., Zhang, L., Eskenazi, B.: Comparison of aneuploidies of chromocomes 21, X, and Y in the blood lymphocytes and sperm of workers exposed to benzene. Environ Mol Mutagen. 53(3):218-26, April 2012.
  • Lupo, P.J., Symanski, E., Waller, D.K., Chan, W., Langlois, P.H., Canfield, M.A., Mitchell, L.E.: Maternal exposure to ambient levels of benzene and neural tube defects among offspring: Texas, 1999-2004. Environ Health Perspect. 119(3):397-402, March 2011.
  • Marchetti, F., Eskenazi, B., Weldon. R.H., Li, G., Zhang, L., Rappaport, S.M., Schmid, T.E., Xing, C., Kurtovich, E., Wyrobek, A.J.: Occupational exposure to benzene and chromosomal structural aberrations in the sperm of Chinese men. Environ Health Perspect. 120(2):229-34, February 2012.
  • NIOSH: Occupational Health Guideline - Benzene. 1988.
  • NIOSH/IPCS: International Chemical Safety Card - Benzene. 2003.
  • OSHA: Occupational Safety and Health Standards, Substance safety data sheet - Benzene. 1910.1028 App A.
  • OSHA: Occupational Safety and Health Standards, Medical surveillance guidelines - Benzene. 1910.1028 App C.
  • Peplonska, B., Stewart, P., Szeszenia-Dabrowska, N., Lissowska, J., Brinton, L.A., Gromiec, J.P., Brzeznicki, S., Yang, X.R., Sherman, M., Garcia-Closas, M., Blair, A.: Occupational exposure to organic solvents and breast cancer in women. Occup Environ Med. 67(11):722-9, November 2010.
  • Prochazka, M., Feychting, M., Ahlbom, A., Edwards, C.G., Nise, G., Plato, N., Schwartzbaum, J.A., Forssen, U.M.: Occupational exposures and risk of acoustic neuroma. Occup Environ Med. 67(11):766-71, November 2010.
Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method:
  • sampling media: Charcoal Tube (100/50 mg sections)
    analytical solvent: Carbon Disulfide
    alternate solvent: (99:1) Carbon Disulfide:Dimethylformamide
    maximum volume: 12 Liters   
    maximum flow rate:
    0.05 L/min TWA
    maximum volume: 0.75 Liters   
    maximum flow rate:
    0.05 L/min STEL
    minimum time: 15 Minutes   
    maximum flow rate:
    0.05 L/min Ceiling
    minimum time: 10 Minutes   
    maximum flow rate:
    0.05 L/min (Peak)
    current analytical method: Gas Chromatography;GC/FID
    method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA 1005)
    method classification: Fully Validated

  • sampling media: Diffusive Sampler (3M 3520 Orgainc Vapor Monitor)
    analytical solvent: Carbon Disulfide
    alternate solvent: (99:1) Carbon Disulfide:Dimethylformamide
    sampling time: 10 to 240 Min
    current analytical method: Gas Chromatography;GC/FID
    method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA 1005)
    method classification: Fully Validated
    note: Persons using diffusive samplers to monitor workplace air must ensure that the sampling devices are properly closed before transporting such devices to the laboratory for analysis. The device will continue to sample until properly closed. Diffusive sampler accessories used for analysis of samplers must be included with transported samples. Persons using such devices must provide sampling-site station barometric pressure and temperature to the analytical laboratory to improve accuracy of sampling results.

  • sampling media: Diffusive Sampler (SKC 575-002 Passive Sampler)
    analytical solvent: Carbon Disulfide
    alternate solvent: (99:1) Carbon Disulfide:Dimethylformamide
    sampling time: 10 to 240 Min
    current analytical method: Gas Chromatography;GC/FID
    method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA 1005)
    method classification: Fully Validated
    note: Persons using diffusive samplers to monitor workplace air must ensure that the sampling devices are properly closed before transporting such devices to the laboratory for analysis. The device will continue to sample until properly closed. Diffusive sampler accessories used for analysis of samplers must be included with transported samples. Persons using such devices must provide sampling-site station barometric pressure and temperature to the analytical laboratory to improve accuracy of sampling results.
On-Site Sampling Techniques/Methods:
  • device: Detector Tube
    manufacturer: Gastec
    model/type: 121
    sampling information: 1 to 4 strokes
    upper measurement limit: 120 ppm
    detection limit: 0.5 ppm
    overall uncertainty: 16.4% for 5 to 20 ppm, 8.2% for 20 to 60 ppm
    method reference: on-site air secondary (SEI Certified)

  • device: Detector Tube
    manufacturer: Matheson-Kitagawa
    model/type: 8014-118SC
    sampling information: follow manufacturer's instructions
    upper measurement limit: 100 ppm
    detection limit: approximately 0.2 ppm
    overall uncertainty: unknown
    method reference: on-site air secondary (SEI Certified)

  • device: Detector Tube
    manufacturer: Drger
    model/type: Benzene 5/b, order no. 67 28071
    sampling information: 20 strokes
    upper measurement limit: 50 ppm
    detection limit: approximately 1 ppm
    overall uncertainty: 25%
    method reference: on-site air secondary (manufacturer)
Wipe Sampling Method:
  • sampling media: charcoal pad from 3M 3500 or 3520 Organic Vapor Monitor
    analytical solvent: none
    note: Ship sample in a sealed 20 mL glass scintillation vial.

Bulk Method:

  • current analytical method: High performance liquid chromatography; HPLC/UV
    method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA 12)
    method classification: Fully Validated
    note: Do not ship bulk samples with air samples.

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