The Risk of Benzene in Drinking Water, and How to Get Rid of It
Benzene was featured in the January Water Technology’s “Contaminant of the Month” feature.
Here are some highlights:
Benzene is a natural product in some foods, is a hydrocarbon manufactured from petroleum, and is the base product amid the family of BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene) hydrocarbons.
Health risks assessment:
- As with most volatile solvents, benzene can cause drowsiness and headaches at high inhalation levels.
- Benzene is a known human carcinogen — EPA Group A, based upon occupational epidemiology.
- Leukemias are the principal cancer concern.
- EPA’s lifetime risk calculation for inhalation is about one in 100,000 to one in one million for exposure at 1 µg/m3.
- EPA’s calculated risk of one in one million for ingestion through drinking water is between 10 and 100 ppb.
- The other BTEX hydrocarbons have much less chronic risk than benzene.
You can find Water Technology’s Contaminant of the Month assessment of benzene here.