Benzene is a compound commonly found in crude oil, natural gas and fuel. It is found as an additive in some industrial solvents, and is also found in vehicle exhaust fumes. People who work in industries related to oil and gas, fuel production, and infrastructure projects, particularly projects involving tunnelling are at risk of being exposed to benzene.
Short-term exposure to benzene can cause headaches, tiredness, dizziness and nausea. Longer term exposure has been linked to bone marrow suppression leading to serious blood disorders, including leukaemia. Employers are legally obliged to reduce exposure to benzene as far as is reasonably practicable, this may include the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) to minimise exposure, as well as routine monitoring of staff to determine their benzene exposure.
RPS can support clients by providing a biological monitoring service for benzene exposure by using our UKAS accredited analysis, we are able to test for s-phenyl-mercapturic acid (S-PMA) a marker of benzene. Our method provides results well below the current workplace exposure limit (WEL), with results being available within five working days of submission as standard.
The Derived Limit Values as listed in the latest ECHA guidance are as follows:
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