Benzene in General Environment
Benzene is a primary industrial chemical and a ubiquitous environmental pollutant. Benzene occurs naturally as a component of petroleum and natural gas and also as a gas emissions from volcanoes and forest fires. There are number of petroleum products that contain benzene and are used in several industrial and household applications. For example, benzene is present in gasoline. Its the maximum content in gasoline was limited in 1998 to 1% v/v.
The general population is commonly exposed to benzene via respiratory tract. The main sources are traffic exhausts and cigarette smoke. Benzene exposures to the general population have been reduced by lowering its contents in gasoline and prohibiting smoking in public places. To improve air quality in the European Union set a limit value of 5 µg/m3 for benzene in 2008. The knowledge on the metabolism of benzene is basis for investigation of biomarkers of exposure to benzene.
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Key words: benzene, general environment, exposure, biomarkers.