Mechanistic Studies of Benzene Toxicity — Implications for Risk Assessment

  • Martyn T. Smith
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 387)


Benzene has been an established human carcinogen for some time now. Its use in the scientific laboratory, its disposal and use in the workplace is therefore tightly regulated in developed nations. It continues to be used, however, as a solvent in developing countries resulting in extremely high exposures. Further, with the introduction of unleaded gasoline in many countries, environmental and occupational exposure to benzene has increased. Most unleaded gasoline contains approximately 1% benzene, but some varieties contain 5% or more. The annual production of benzene in the US exceeds 1.2 billion gallons, accounting for 30% of worldwide production. Approximately 165,000 metric tons are released annually into the air in the US. Benzene is therefore a ubiquitous environmental pollutant. Smoking is another source of benzene exposure. A one pack/day smoker takes in 1800 μg benzene each day, while non-smokers are exposed to 180 – 1300 μg per day (1).


HL60 Cell Sister Chromatid Exchange Mouse Bone Marrow Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Protein Adduct 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martyn T. Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Environmental Health Sciences School of Public HealthUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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