Benzene Exposure Q and A

Benzene is a sweet-smelling, colorless chemical compound derived from coal and petroleum and treated as a solvent in many industries. Typically, it is used in the chemical compound process of plastics, resins, pharmaceuticals, synthetic rubber and dyes. Moreover, benzene is used as a chemical constituent in petrochemicals as well as in nut and seed oil extraction. While benzene functions as a useful solvent/chemical compound, there is a distinct danger with benzene exposure.

Q. Who is exposed to benzene? 

A. Workers involved in the following industries:

·         Gas and petroleum

·         Rubber

·         Steel

·         Printing (ink)

·         Plastics

Q. Why is benzene harmful to humans?

A. Benzene contains high levels of toxicity and carcinogenic properties. Benzene targets:

·         Bone marrow

·         Tissues used in blood production

Q. What are the long-term health effects of benzene exposure?

A. Benzene exposure may cause:

·         Leukemia

·         Bone marrow deterioration

·         Blood conditions and disorders

·         Damage to tissues in blood production

Q. What are the short-term health effects?

A. Benzene exposure may cause:

·         Intense headaches

·         Dizziness

·         Drowsiness

·         Vomiting

·         Unconsciousness

Q. What proactive steps can be taken against workplace exposure to benzene?

A. An employer must communicate OSHA-regulated material regarding the toxic properties of benzene and the proper procedures for safety. The OSHA website is an excellent resource to learn more about benzene exposure. There are some practical actions to keep benzene exposure at bay on your worksite.

·         Provide ventilation and air monitor systems

·         Thorough training on actions to benzene exposure

·         Proper PPE

·         Limited time in exposed areas


Q. How can Examinetics help?

A.  The service Examinetics offers for benzene exposure is through Hazmat exposure exams, which ensures workers’ safety while working around hazardous material. The exams include:

·         Physician’s exams

·         Clinical tests

·         Laboratory analysis

·         Medical clearances

·         Proper forms and documentation

Essential links

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
NIOSH topics: benzene

Business Owner Briefing
International Chemical Safety Cards (NIOSH)

Medical Director Review
Paper: Temporal Variation in the Association between Benzene and Leukemia Mortality. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2008 March; 116(3): 370-374

OSHA Health and Safety Topic: Benzene
Safety and Health Topics: Benzene




This is business-to-business information intended for EHS (environmental health and safety) professionals and not intended for the final consumer. Companies should check the local regulatory status of any claim according to their individual needs, requirements and intended use.