About Benzene

From The Agency of Toxic Substances and Disease Registry

CAS ID #: 71-43-2
Affected Organ Systems: Hematological (Blood Forming), Immunological (Immune System), Neurological (Nervous System)

Cancer Classification: NTP: Known to be a human carcinogen. EPA: Known human carcinogen. IARC: Carcinogenic to humans

Please contact NTPIARC, or EPA’s IRIS Hotline with questions on cancer and cancer classification.

Chemical Classification: Hydrocarbons (contain hydrogen and carbon atoms), Volatile organic compounds

Summary: Benzene is a colorless liquid with a sweet odor. It evaporates into the air very quickly and dissolves slightly in water. It is highly flammable and is formed from both natural processes and human activities.

Benzene is widely used in the United States; it ranks in the top 20 chemicals for production volume. Some industries use benzene to make other chemicals which are used to make plastics, resins, and nylon and synthetic fibers. Benzene is also used to make some types of rubbers, lubricants, dyes, detergents, drugs, and pesticides. Natural sources of benzene include volcanoes and forest fires. Benzene is also a natural part of crude oil, gasoline, and cigarette smoke.

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