Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1980;6(2):104-111    pdf


Breath concentration as an index of the health risk from benzene. Studies on the accumulation and clearance of inhaled benzene.

by Berlin M, Gage JC, Gullberg B, Holm S, Knutsson P, Eng C, Tunek A

Human subjects were exposed to known concentrations of benzene in air for single and repeated daily periods. The breath concentrations measured repeated exposures approached a maximum after 3 d, and this phenomenon indicated that the tissues were approaching saturation under the experimental conditions. The breath concentrations measured after exposure indicated an initial rapid clearance of benzene with a half-time of 2.6 h, followed by a slower phase with a half-time of 24 h. The decay in breath concentration after prolonged occupational exposure appeared to be slower; the difference between the laboratory and industrial studies was, however, not significant. The hygienic significance of these results was discussed, and it was recommended that control measures be employed when a morning breath concentration exceeds 10 ppb.