Many Scientists Believe There is No Safe Exposure to a Carcinogen
BENZENE pdf format New Jersey Hazardous Chemical Fact Sheet
Have you ever cleaned oil drippings from your car off of the concrete driveway by using gasoline? It appears that the dispersants are similar in that they contain a lot of oil type compounds, and most likely Exxon doesn't think you will be able to say it was the dispersant that caused your illness ... "It could have been the oil, you know" *
Common Name: Benzene CAS Number: 71-43-2 DOT Number: UN 1114 Date: January, 1988 _________________________________________ HAZARD SUMMARY * Benzene can affect you when breathed in and by passing through your skin. * Benzene is a CARCINOGEN HANDLE WITH EXTREME CAUTION. * Exposure can cause you to become dizzy and lightheaded. Higher levels can cause convulsions and death. * Exposure can irritate the nose and throat and may cause an upset stomach and vomiting. * Benzene can cause an irregular heart beat that can lead to death. * Prolonged exposure can cause fatal damage to the blood (aplastic anemia). * Benzene is a FLAMMABLE LIQUID and a FIRE HAZARD. IDENTIFICATION Benzene is a colorless liquid with a pleasant odor. It is used mainly in making other chemicals, as a solvent, and is found in gasoline. REASON FOR CITATION * Benzene is on the Hazardous Substance List because it is regulated by OSHA and cited by ACGIH, DOT, NIOSH, IARC, NTP, CAG, DEP, NFPA and EPA. * It is on the Special Health Hazard Substance List because it is a CARCINOGEN, a MUTAGEN and is FLAMMABLE. * Definitions are attached. HOW TO DETERMINE IF YOU ARE BEING EXPOSED * Exposure to hazardous substances should be routinely evaluated. This may include collecting air samples. Under OSHA 1910.20, you have a legal right to obtain copies of sampling results from your employer. If you think you are experiencing any work related health problems, see a doctor trained to recognize occupational diseases. Take this Fact Sheet with you. * ODOR THRESHOLD = 12.0 ppm. * The odor threshold only serves as a warning of exposure. Not smelling it does not mean you are not being exposed. WORKPLACE EXPOSURE LIMITS OSHA: The legal airborne permissible exposure limit (PEL) is 1 ppm averaged over an 8 hour workshift, and 5 ppm which should not be exceeded in any 10 minute period. ACGIH: The recommended airborne exposure limit is 10 ppm averaged over an 8 hour workshift. NIOSH: The recommended airborne exposure limit is 1.0 ppm, which should not be exceeded during any 60 minute period. * Benzene is a CANCER CAUSING AGENT in humans. There may be no safe level of exposure to a carcinogen, so all contact should be reduced to the lowest possible level. * The above exposure limits are for air levels only. Skin contact may also cause overexposure. WAYS OF REDUCING EXPOSURE * A regulated, marked area should be established where Benzene is handled, used, or stored. * Wear protective work clothing. * Wash thoroughly immediately after exposure to Benzene and at the end of the workshift. * Post hazard and warning information in the work area. In addition, as part of an ongoing education and training effort, communicate all information on the health and safety hazards of Benzene to potentially exposed workers. This Fact Sheet is a summary source of information of all potential and most severe health hazards that may result from exposure. Duration of exposure, concentration of the substance and other factors will affect your susceptibility to any of the potential effects described below. __________________________________________ HEALTH HAZARD INFORMATION Acute Health Effects The following acute (short term) health effects may occur immediately or shortly after exposure to Benzene: * Exposure can cause symptoms of dizziness, lightheadedness, headaches, and vomiting. Convulsions and coma, or sudden death from irregular heart beat, may follow high exposures. * Exposure can also irritate the eyes, nose, and throat. Chronic Health Effects The following chronic (long term) health effects can occur at some time after exposure to Benzene and can last for months or years: Cancer Hazard * Benzene is a CARCINOGEN in humans. It has been shown to cause leukemia. * Many scientists believe there is no safe level of exposure to a carcinogen. Reproductive Hazard * There is limited evidence that Benzene is a teratogen in animals. Until further testing has been done, it should be treated as a possible teratogen in humans. Other Long Term Effects * Repeated exposure can damage the blood forming organs causing a condition called aplastic anemia. This can cause death. * Long term exposure may cause drying and scaling of the skin. MEDICAL TESTING Before beginning employment and at regular times after that, the following are recommended: * Complete blood count. * Urinary Phenol (a test to see if Benzene is in the body). Any evaluation should include a careful history of past and present symptoms with an exam. Medical tests that look for damage already done are not a substitute for controlling exposure. Request copies of your medical testing. You have a legal right to this information under OSHA 1910.20. WORKPLACE CONTROLS AND PRACTICES Unless a less toxic chemical can be substituted for a hazardous substance, ENGINEERING CONTROLS are the most effective way of reducing exposure. The best protection is to enclose operations and/or provide local exhaust ventilation at the site of chemical release. Isolating operations can also reduce exposure. Using respirators or protective equipment is less effective than the controls mentioned above, but is sometimes necessary. In evaluating the controls present in your workplace, consider: (1) how hazardous the substance is, (2) how much of the substance is released into the workplace and (3) whether harmful skin or eye contact could occur. Special controls should be in place for highly toxic chemicals or when significant skin, eye, or breathing exposures are possible. In addition, the following controls are recommended: * Where possible, automatically pump liquid Benzene from drums or other storage containers to process containers. * Specific engineering controls are recommended for this chemical by NIOSH. Refer to the NIOSH criteria documents on Benzene # 74 137 and "Refined Petroleum Solvents" # 77 192. Good WORK PRACTICES can help to reduce hazardous exposures. The following work practices are recommended: * Workers whose clothing has been contaminated by Benzene should change into clean clothing promptly. * Do not take contaminated work clothes home. Family members could be exposed. * Contaminated work clothes should be laundered by individuals who have been informed of the hazards of exposure to Benzene. * If there is the possibility of skin exposure, emergency shower facilities should be provided. * On skin contact with Benzene, immediately wash or shower to remove the chemical. * Do not eat, smoke, or drink where Benzene is handled, processed, or stored, since the chemical can be swallowed. Wash hands carefully before eating or smoking. PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT WORKPLACE CONTROLS ARE BETTER THAN PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT. However, for some jobs (such as outside work, confined space entry, jobs done only once in a while, or jobs done while workplace controls are being installed), personal protective equipment may be appropriate. The following recommendations are only guidelines and may not apply to every situation. Clothing * Avoid skin contact with Benzene. Wear solvent resistant gloves and clothing. Safety equipment suppliers/ manufacturers can provide recommendations on the most protective glove/clothing material for your operation. * All protective clothing (suits, gloves, footwear, headgear) should be clean, available each day, and put on before work. * ACGIH recommends VITON gloves for short periods of protection. Eye Protection * Eye protection is included in the recommended respiratory protection. Respiratory Protection IMPROPER USE OF RESPIRATORS IS DANGEROUS. Such equipment should only be used if the employer has a written program that takes into account workplace conditions, requirements for worker training, respirator fit testing and medical exams, as described in OSHA 1910.134. * At any exposure level, use a MSHA/NIOSH approved supplied air respirator with a full facepiece operated in the positive pressure mode or with a full facepiece, hood, or helmet in the continuous flow mode, or use a MSHA/NIOSH approved self contained breathing apparatus with a full facepiece operated in pressure demand or other positive pressure mode. HANDLING AND STORAGE * Prior to working with Benzene you should be trained on its proper handling and storage. * Benzene must be stored to avoid contact with OXIDIZERS (such as PERMANGANATES, NITRATES, PEROXIDES, CHLORATES, and PERCHLORATES), since violent reactions occur. * Store in tightly closed containers in a cool well ventilated area away from HEAT. * Sources of ignition such as smoking and open flames are prohibited where Benzene is handled, used, or stored. * Metal containers involving the transfer of 5 gallons or more of Benzene should be grounded and bonded. Drums must be equipped with self closing valves, pressure vacuum bungs, and flame arresters. * Wherever Benzene is used, handled, manufactured, or stored, use explosion proof electrical equipment and fittings. Common Name: Benzene DOT Number: UN 1114 DOT Emergency Guide code: 27 CAS Number: 71-43-2 ________________________________________ NJ DOH Hazard rating FLAMMABILITY 3 REACTIVITY 0 ________________________________________ CARCINOGEN CONTAINERS MAY EXPLODE IN FIRE POISONOUS GAS IS PRODUCED IN FIRE ________________________________________ Hazard Rating Key: 0=minimal; 1=slight; 2=moderate; 3=serious; 4=severe FIRE HAZARDS * Benzene is a FLAMMABLE LIQUID. * Use dry chemical, CO2, or foam extinguishers. Water can be used to keep fire exposed containers cool. * POISONOUS GAS IS PRODUCED IN FIRE. * CONTAINERS MAY EXPLODE IN FIRE. * The vapor is heavier than air and may travel a distance to cause a fire or explosion far from the source. * If employees are expected to fight fires, they must be trained and equipped as stated in OSHA 1910.156. SPILLS AND EMERGENCIES If Benzene is spilled or leaked, take the following steps: * Restrict persons not wearing protective equipment from area of spill or leak until cleanup is complete. * Remove all ignition sources. * Ventilate area of spill or leak. * Absorb liquids in vermiculite, dry sand, earth, or a similar material and deposit in sealed containers. * Keep Benzene out of a confined space, such as a sewer, because of the possibility of an explosion, unless the sewer is designed to prevent the buildup of explosive concentrations. * It may be necessary to contain and dispose of Benzene as a HAZARDOUS WASTE. Contact the your state Environmental Program for specific recommendations. ========================================== FOR LARGE SPILLS AND FIRES immediately call your fire department. ========================================== FIRST AID POISON INFORMATION Eye Contact * Immediately flush with large amounts of water for at least 15 minutes, occasionally lifting upper and lower lids. Skin Contact * Quickly remove contaminated clothing. Immediately wash area with large amounts of soap and water. Seek medical attention. Breathing * Remove the person from exposure. * Begin rescue breathing if breathing has stopped and CPR if heart action has stopped. PHYSICAL DATA Vapor Pressure: 75 mmhg at 68oF (20oC) Flash Point: 12oF (11oC) Water Solubility: Slightly soluble OTHER COMMONLY USED NAMES Chemical Name: Benzene Other Names and Formulations: Benzol; Coal Naphtha; Phenyl Hydride. _________________________________________ Not intended to be copied and sold for commercial purposes. __________________________________________ NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH Right to Know Program CN 368, Trenton, NJ 08625 0368 __________________________________________ __________________________________________ ECOLOGICAL INFORMATION Benzene is produced from coal and is used to make medicinal chemicals, dyes, and many other organic compounds. It is also used to make artificial leather, linoleum, oil cloth, varnishes and lacquers. Benzene can enter the environment mostly from industrial effluents. ACUTE (SHORT-TERM) ECOLOGICAL EFFECTS Acute toxic effects may include the death of animals, birds, or fish, and death or low growth rate in plants. Acute effects are seen two to four days after animals or plants come in contact with a toxic chemical substance. Benzene has high acute toxicity to aquatic life. It can cause death in plants and roots and membrane damage in leaves of various agricultural crops. No data are available on the short-term effects of benzene on birds or land animals. CHRONIC (LONG-TERM) ECOLOGICAL EFFECTS Chronic toxic effects may include shortened lifespan, reproductive problems, lower fertility, and changes in appearance or behavior. Chronic effects can be seen long after first exposure(s) to a toxic chemical. Benzene has high chronic toxicity to aquatic life. No data are available on the long-term effects of benzene on plants, birds, or land animals. WATER SOLUBILITY Benzene is moderately soluble in water. Concentrations of between 1 to 1,000 milligrams will mix with a liter of water. DISTRIBUTION AND PERSISTENCE IN THE ENVIRONMENT Benzene is slightly persistent in water, with a half-life of between 2 to 20 days. The half-life of a pollutant is the amount of time it takes for one-half of the chemical to be degraded. About 99.5% of benzen will eventually end up in air; the rest will end up in the water. BIOACCUMULATION IN AQUATIC ORGANISMS Some substances increase in concentration, or bioaccumulate, in living oranisms as they breathe contaminated air, drink contaminated water, or eat contaminated food. These chemicals can become concentrated in the tissues and internal organs of animals and humans. The concentration of benzene found in fish tissues is expected to be somewhat higher than the average concentration of benzene in the water from which the fish was taken. SUPPORT DOCUMENT: AQUIRE Database, ERL-Duluth, U.S. EPA, Phytotox.
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