Reducing Toxic Effects of Benzene Exposure
We are all exposed to benzene in the ambient air. Daily benzene intake in the U.S. has been calculated at between 180 and 1300 migrograms per day. Unfortunately for us, benzene has been identified by the U.S. Government as a “national cancer risk driver.” In fact, benzene is the only air toxicant to receive this designation in the 1999 NATA. For this reason, the U.S. EPA recommends 0.4 parts per billion (ppb) of benzene in the ambient air as a “protective” range, although even at this level hypersusceptible people may still fall sick due to exposure. Additionally, the Worldwide Scientific Group known as “Collegium Ramazzini” stated in 1993 that “no safe level above zero is known.” The “no safe level of benzene exposure” has been known by the petrochemical trade organization API since 1948, and it bears repeating today.
So what does the population do to protect itself from overexposure to benzene? Simply put, one must attempt to recognize and limit exposure to benzene in petroleum-derived products and those that emit benzene. The main sources of benzene in the ambient air continue to be cigarette smoke and car exhaust. However, many consumer products containing petroleum-based solvents also contain unpredictable levels of benzene in them. Those include paints, varnishes, detergents, degreasers, gasoline and many automotive products. Look at the labels. Inform yourself. And discontinue use of petroleum-based products, cigarettes and gasoline as much as reasonably possible. Your health may depend on it.