International Programme on Chemical Safety


Human exposure to benzene has been associated with a range of acute and long term adverse health effects and diseases, including cancer and aplastic anaemia. Exposure can occur occupationally and domestically as a result of the ubiquitous use of benzene- containing petroleum products including motor fuels and solvents. Active and passive exposure to tobacco smoke is also a significant source of exposure.

Benzene is highly volatile and exposure occurs mostly through inhalation. Interventions to reduce both work and general population exposure include promoting the use of alternative solvents in industrial processes, developing and implementing policies and legislation to remove benzene from consumer products, discouraging domestic use of benzene-containing products, stopping smoking, and promoting building codes requiring detached garages.

Short information documents for decision makers

Norms and guidance values

Most recent WHO evaluation and risk assessment documents

Other relevant documents