What are aromatics, what's their chemical composition and how are they manufactured?

Are consumers exposed to benzene?

The general public is commonly not exposed to benzene, except for extremely minute amounts from a variety of sources, such as city traffic, open fires and smoking (both active and passive), car refuelling and travelling in a vehicle. Trace amounts of benzene are also detectable in food, as a result of certain type of cooking (e.g. barbecue and grilling).

The overall exposure of an individual to benzene is unique to that individual, since it is dependent on his/her life-style and daily activities, as well as the levels of benzene exposure associated with each of these. In rural areas, for the reasons explained above, exposures are far lower than those found in the cities.

As for the benzene produced by our members, i.e. aromatics producers in Europe, it should be remembered that it is not a consumer product. All the benzene produced by our members is transformed into other chemicals in the processes described above. Once converted into consumer goods the amount of residual benzene is virtually non-existent, as is indeed requested by international regulations, which prohibit the sale of consumer goods containing benzene.

Furthermore, all products derived from benzene are very strictly monitored and regulated by the regulating authorities, who can count on the collaboration of the industry itself, which usually applies even more stringent standards to protect the consumer from any risk.