Occupational exposure levels to benzene in Italy: findings from a national database

Benzene is classified as a human carcinogen and the association with lymphohaematopoietic cancer has been observed in many occupational epidemiological studies. This research summarised data about occupational exposure levels to benzene in Italy. Airborne concentrations of benzene were selected from the Italian database on occupational exposure to carcinogens in the period 1996-2007. Descriptive statistics were calculated for exposure-related variables. The number of workers potentially exposed was estimated for the industrial sectors better characterised in the database. An analysis through linear mixed model was performed to determine factors affecting the exposure level. The total number of benzene exposure measurements was 15,776, with an overall arithmetic mean of 0.09 ppm and a geometric mean of 0.02 ppm. Economic sectors with a higher number of measurements (N) were the manufacturing of chemicals (N )10,480) and the petrochemical industry (N ) 2,652). The number of workers potentially exposed in the selected sectors was 37,137, and the most predictive independent variables of the exposure level were measurement year and job category. Based on the findings from the present study, the authors concluded that occupational benzene exposure is still widespread in many different industries, and proactive measures are required to reduce its impact on the workers’ health. The potential of occupational exposure databases as a source of data for exposure assessment is confirmed.

Authors: Scarselli, Alberto; Binazzi, Alessandra; Di Marzio, Davide ;Full Source: International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][online computer file] 2011, 84(6), 617-625 (Eng) ;