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BENZENE ANNUAL AWARENESS LEVEL 1
BENZENE ANNUAL WORKER LEVEL 2
BENZENE ANNUAL SUPERVISOR LEVEL 3

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released results from its workplace hazard evaluations at unconventional oil and gas wells – and they show that workers can be exposed to high levels of benzene during fracking flowback.

Its boiling point is 176 degrees F and its flash point is 12 degrees F. The flammable limits in air are 1.3% for the low end and 7.5% for the high end.Benzene is a flammable liquid. Its vapors can form explosive mixtures. All ignition sources must be controlled when Benzene is used, handled, or stored. Where liquid or vapor may be released, such areas shall be considered as hazardous locations.Benzene vapors are heavier than air; thus the vapors may travel along the ground and be ignited by open flames or sparks at locations remote from the site at which Benzene is handled.

Benzene is classified as a 1 B flammable liquid for the purpose of conforming to the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.106. A concentration exceeding 3,250 ppm is considered a potential fire explosion hazard. Locations where Benzene may be present in quantities sufficient to produce explosive or ignitable mixtures are considered Class I Group D for the purposes of conforming to the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.309.

Health Effects: Benzene is primarily an inhalation hazard. Systemic absorption may

cause depression of the hematopoietic system, pancytopenia, aplastic anemia, and leukemia. Inhalation of high concentrations can affect central nervous system function. Aspiration of small amounts of liquid Benzene immediately causes pulmonary edema and hemorrhage of pulmonary tissue. There is some absorption through the skin. Absorption may be more rapid in the case of abraded skin, and Benzene may be more readily absorbed if it is present in a mixture or as a contaminant in solvents that are readily absorbed. The defatting action of Benzene may produce primary irritation due to repeated or prolonged contact with the skin. A high concentration is irritating to the eyes and the mucous membranes of the nose, and respiratory tract.

Direct skin contact with Benzene may cause erythema. Repeated or prolonged contact may result in drying, scaling dermatitis, or development of secondary skin infections. In addition, there is Benzene absorption through the skin. Local effects of Benzene vapor or liquid on the eye are slight. Only at very high concentrations is there any smarting sensation in the eye. Inhalation of high concentrations of Benzene may have an initial stimulatory effect on the central nervous system characterized by exhilaration, nervous excitation, and/or giddiness, followed by a period of depression, drowsiness, or fatigue. A sensation of tightness in the chest accompanied by breathlessness may occur and ultimately the victim may lose consciousness. Tremors, convulsions and death may follow from respiratory paralysis or circulatory collapse in a few minutes to several hours following severe exposures.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released preliminary results from its workplace hazard evaluations at unconventional oil and gas wells – and they show that workers can be exposed to high levels of benzene during fracking flowback.

 

 

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