Does benzene persist in the environment?
Benzene is ubiquitous in the atmosphere. It has been identified in air samples of both rural and urban environments and in indoor air. Although a large volume of benzene is released to the environment, environmental levels are low because of efficient removal and degradation processes.
How does benzene affect the environment?
What effect does benzene have on the environment? In the atmosphere, benzene can react with other chemicals to create smog. This could break down naturally but it might also attach to rain and snow and be carried to the ground to contaminate water and soil.
How long does benzene last in soil?
Anaerobic degradation of benzene in soil is not expected to be an important loss process based on various studies(6,7). In one study of chemical biotransformation under nitrate- and sulfate-reducing conditions, benzene was found to be stable for 60 days(6).
How quickly does benzene decompose?
According to one experiment, benzene has a half-life of 17 days due to photodegradation which could contribute to benzene’s removal in situations of cold water, poor nutrients, or other conditions less conductive to microbial degradation.
What is benzene pollution?
The benzene in indoor air comes from products that contain benzene such as glues, paints, furniture wax, and detergents. The air around hazardous waste sites or gas stations can contain higher levels of benzene than in other areas.
How does benzene get into soil?
Soil and groundwater become contaminated with benzene as a result of leakage from underground gasoline storage tanks, landfills or hazardous waste sites that handle benzene or from industrial discharge or improper disposal of benzene containing products.
What does benzene do to animals?
We do not know what human health effects might occur after long-term exposure to food and water contaminated with benzene. In animals, exposure to food or water contaminated with benzene can damage the blood and the immune system and can cause cancer.
What does benzene do to soil?
When benzene comes into contact with soil, it can trickle down into underground water. Once in groundwater, Benzene can also volatilize into a gas and migrate back up through the soil.
How is benzene removed from groundwater?
Treatment options are available to remove benzene from well water. The most commonly used is granular activated carbon filtration. Options include central treatment (at the well or entry to home) or a point-of-use device (kitchen sink filter).
Why is benzene toxic?
Benzene works by causing cells not to work correctly. For example, it can cause bone marrow not to produce enough red blood cells, which can lead to anemia. Also, it can damage the immune system by changing blood levels of antibodies and causing the loss of white blood cells.
Where is benzene found in the environment?
Benzene is formed from both natural processes and human activities. Natural sources of benzene include volcanoes and forest fires. Benzene is also a natural part of crude oil, gasoline, and cigarette smoke. Benzene is widely used in the United States.