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. Public health actions are needed to reduce the exposure of both workers and the general population to benzene.
Recognising the specific concerns over Benzene a hazardous, carcinogenic chemical, the EU has turned to the European Chemicals agency (ECHA) to “review, evaluate the information already available and assess the most recent scientific information”.
In a photoionisation detector high-energy photons, typically in the vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) range, break molecules into positively charged ions. As compounds enter the detector they are bombarded by high- energy UV photons and are ionised when they absorb the UV light, resulting in ejection of electrons and the formation of positively charged ions.
Health surveillance by conducting a urinary test or blood count can of course show evidence of exposure but these are lagging indicators i.e. after exposure has already taken place by which time damage may have been done.
Clearly in safety critical sectors such as oil & gas there can be no compromise in EHS because of the immediate danger to life but for a long time, according to the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS), we have been shouting safety and whispering health.
Benzene is an important organic chemical compound with the chemical formula C6H6. The benzene molecule is composed of six carbon atoms joined in a ring with one hydrogen atom attached to each. As it contains only carbon and hydrogen atoms, benzene is classed as a hydrocarbon.