Skip to Content

Benzene-associated Hematoxicity and Carcinogenicity

Public Health Impact of DCEG Research

A series of DCEG occupational and molecular epidemiology studies on benzene exposure in Chinese workers, part of a twenty-year collaboration with the China CDC, led to a seminal report which provided the first direct evidence in humans that benzene harms the progenitor cells that give rise to blood cells, and that benzene causes hematologic effects at or below 1 ppm, particularly among susceptible subpopulations. These findings informed a pivotal 2007 EPA ruling limiting the benzene content in gasoline and adopting controls on passenger vehicles and portable fuel containers in order to significantly reduce emissions of hazardous air pollutants. More recently, the National Research Council of the National Academies recommended, based primarily on the NCI-CDC findings, that the 90 day exposure standard for benzene air levels in U.S. Navy submarines be reduced from 1.0 to 0.2 ppm.