Benzene is a light hydrocarbon and a natural component of crude oil. It is a common petrochemical compound used as a solvent and in petrochemical manufacturing. Benzene a known human carcinogen with short- and long-term health effects.
Appearance: Colorless liquid or gas.
Odor: Sweet, aromatic, like solvent, like gasoline. Odorless at health effects levels.
Mobile: Cars, trucks, trains, and marine vessels.
Stationary: Oil refineries and chemical plants.
Short-term (acute): Light exposure: Dizziness, headache, vertigo, and irritation of the eyes, skin, and respiratory tract.
Medium exposure: nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, tremor, delirium, and loss of consciousness.
Fatal exposure: 20,000 ppm for 5-10 minutes.
Long-term (chronic): Blood disorders, reproductive impacts to women and fetuses, and leukemia. Known human carcinogen.
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Effects Screening Level:
Short term (1 hour): 58 parts per billion (ppb).
Long term (1 year): 1.4 ppb.
Odor: 1,700 ppb.
Environmental Protection Agency Corrective Action Level (2 weeks): 2.8 ppb at the fenceline of an oil refinery.