Benzene in motor vehicle repair
Benzene is a natural component of both crude oil and petrol. It can be absorbed into your body through the skin or if you breathe it in and long-term exposure can lead to serious blood disorders such as anaemia and leukaemia (a form of cancer). However, the risk of exposure to benzene from petrol is very small as its content in the EU is restricted to less than 1%. Sensible precautions when handling petrol (which is not only a fire and explosion risk but can defat the skin leading to a risk of dermatitis) should be more than adequate to protect against benzene.
- Always use a fuel retriever when draining petrol tanks or pipelines.
- Don’t blow out fuel lines with compressed air.
- Use protective gloves such as disposable nitrile gloves where there is a risk of short-term contact (eg splashing).
- Ensure you wash your hands thoroughly after any contact with petrol and apply replenishing cream after washing
- Health and safety in motor vehicle repair and associated industries - HSG261
- Benzene and you - INDG329
- Safe use of petrol in garages - INDG331