Sangjun Choi 1, Sugyeong Kwak1, Donguk Park2, Jee Yeon Jeong3

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

Received: August 18, 2018
Revised: November 25, 2018
Accepted: November 25, 2018
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Cite this article:
Choi, S., Kwak, S., Park, D. and Jeong, J.Y. (2019). Potential Risk of Benzene in Petroleum-Derived Products Used from 1974 to 2012 in Korea. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 19: 548-558.


  • Benzene can be still included in PDPs as an impurity.
  • Hazard communication on the PDPs containing benzene below 0.1% is important.
  • MSDS information of PDPs should be carefully considered.


This study was conducted to assess the levels of benzene in petroleum-derived products (PDPs) through literature reviews reported in Korea and to estimate the inhalable benzene to which workers who handle PDPs containing trace amounts of benzene are exposed. All of the available data until 2012 on benzene-containing products in Korea were collected from prior studies, reports, and epidemiological surveys. A total of 32 products from 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 sets with 131 bulk samples for benzene content information were collected. Thinner had the highest benzene content (56.7% in 1997), followed by printing agent (30.1% in 2005), solvent used in the maintenance and repair of motor vehicles (8.96% in 2005), and gasoline (6.0% in 2002). The amount of benzene contained in the PDPs exhibited a declining trend over the years, but workers handling thinners containing less than 0.1% benzene were found to be exposed to concentrations above 1 ppm. 13 of the 32 reagents were also confirmed to contain benzene, and the products of trichlorethylene and ethylbenzene contained more than 0.1% benzene. In conclusion, if there is a possibility of benzene exposure, even when the benzene content is below 0.1%, specifying the presence of benzene in the material safety data sheet to ensure the protection of workers is warranted.

Keywords: Benzene; Petroleum-derived product; MSDS; Reagent.


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