Benzene causes cancer and so is a dangerous chemical. Long term exposure to benzene in occupational settings can cause a reduction in red blood cells and can lead to leukemia.

Benzene is a hydrocarbon and so is found in crude oil and in fuels.  Most of the benzene in Irish air comes from road traffic and from oil burners but some is also released by evaporation wherever fuel is handled.  Benzene is also a constituent of tobacco smoke.
Trend in annual mean benzene concentrations 2002 - 2012
Air Quality in Ireland 2012 (EPA, 2013)

The graph shows annual mean benzene concentrations measured in Dublin and Cork from 2002 to 2012. The levels recorded in Dublin have decreased significantly since 2002, when the mean level recorded was close to the limit value of 5 micrograms per cubic metre. Indeed, in 2008 and 2009 mean benzene concentrations in Cork were higher than those in Dublin, although levels in both cities in 2012 were relatively stable and comfortably below the limit value.


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