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Potential Risk of Benzene in Petroleum-derived Products Used from 1974 to 2012 in Korea

Category: Air Toxics

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DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2018.08.0301
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Sangjun Choi 1, Sugyeong Kwak1, Donguk Park2, Jee Yeon Jeong3

  • 1 Department of Occupational Health, Daegu Catholic University, Gyeonsangbukdo 38430, Korea
  • 2 Department of Environmental Health, Korea National Open University, Seoul 03087, Korea
  • 3 Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, Yongin University, Yongin 17092, Korea


This study was conducted to assess benzene contents in petroleum-derived products (PDPs) through literature reviews reported in Korea, and also to estimate inhalable exposure to benzene of workers handling PDPs that contain trace amounts of benzene. All available data on the benzene-containing products in Korea until 2012 were collected from prior studies, reports and epidemiological surveys. A total of 32 products of 7 reagents, including ethylbenzene and trichloroethylene were also analyzed using a gas chromatograph equipped with a mass spectrometer to confirm the trace levels of benzene. Finally, a total of 112 data set with 131 bulk samples for benzene content information were collected. Thinner had the highest benzene content of 56.7% in 1997, followed by 30.1% for printing agent in 2005, 8.96% for solvent used at maintenance and repair services of motor vehicles in 2005, and 6.0% for gasoline in 2002. The amount of benzene contained in the PDPs showed a declining trend by years, but workers treated with thinners containing less than 0.1% benzene were found to be exposed to concentrations above 1 ppm. Thirteen of the 32 reagents were also confirmed to contain benzene, while the products of trichlorethylene and ethylbenzene contained more than 0.1% benzene. In conclusion, even if the benzene content is below 0.1%, if there is a possibility of benzene exposure, it is warranted to specify presence of benzene in the material safety data sheet to ensure protection of health of workers handling the PDPs.


Benzene Petroleum-derived product MSDS Reagent

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