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EC number: 292-697-5
CAS number: 90989-41-6
Benzene is readily absorbed following inhalation or oral exposure. Although it is also readily absorbed from the skin, a significant amount evaporates from the skin
surface. Absorbed benzene is rapidly distributed throughout the body and tends to partition into fatty tissues. The liver serves an important function in benzene metabolism.
toxicokinetics of benzene has been extensively studied and was recently
reviewed by ATSDR (Toxicological profile for benzene, ATSDR, 2007).
ATSDR concluded "Inhalation exposure is probably the major route of
human exposure to benzene, although oral and dermal exposures are also
important. Benzene is readily absorbed following inhalation or oral
exposure. Although benzene is also readily absorbed from the skin, a
significant amount of a dermal application evaporates from the skin
surface. Absorbed benzene is rapidly distributed throughout the body and
tends to partition into fatty tissues. The liver serves an important
function in benzene metabolism, which results in the production of
several reactive metabolites. Although it is widely accepted that
benzene toxicity is dependent upon metabolism, no single benzene
metabolite has been found to be the major source of benzene
hematopoietic and leukaemogenic effects. At low exposure levels, benzene
is rapidly metabolized and excreted predominantly as conjugated urinary
metabolites. At higher exposure levels, metabolic pathways appear to
become saturated and a large portion of an absorbed dose of benzene is
excreted as parent compound in exhaled air. Benzene metabolism appears
to be qualitatively similar among humans and various laboratory animal
species. However, there are quantitative differences in the relative
amounts of benzene metabolites”. The present analysis confirms the ATSDR
statement. More specifically, human inhalation exposure is estimated to
be approximately 50%, oral exposure assumed to be 100% (this value used
for DN(M)EL calculations). Percutaneous absorption is estimated at 0.1%
(Modjtahedi and Maibach, 2008) whereas a QSAR model determined a maximum
value of 1.5% (Ten Berge, 2009).
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