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C-FERST Issue Profile: Benzene

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. The chemical is widely used in the United States, and ranks in the top 20 chemicals produced in the U.S.

EPA has classified benzene as known human carcinogen for all routes of exposure. Outdoor air can contain low levels of benzene from tobacco smoke, gas stations, motor vehicle exhaust, and industrial emissions. Air around hazardous waste sites and gas stations can contain higher levels of benzene than other areas. Indoor air generally contains higher levels of benzene than outdoor air. Benzene in indoor air comes from glues, paints, furniture wax, detergents, and other products that contain benzene.

Learn more about benzene by exploring the links below.