The ways that I be exposed to ethylbenzene?
There are a variety of ways you may be exposed to this chemical. If you live in a highly populated area or near many factories or heavily traveled highways, you may be exposed to ethylbenzene in the air. Releases of ethylbenzene into these areas occur from burning oil, gas, and coal and from discharges of ethylbenzene from some types of factories. The median level of ethylbenzene in city and suburban air is about 0.62 parts of ethylbenzene per billion parts (ppb) of air. In contrast, the median level of ethylbenzene measured in air in country locations is about 0.01 ppb. Indoor air has a higher median concentration of ethylbenzene (about 1 ppb) than outdoor air. This is because ethylbenzene builds up after you use household products such as cleaning products or paints.
Ethylbenzene was found in only one of ten U.S. rivers and streams tested in 1982 and 1983. The average level measured was less than 5.0 ppb. Ethylbenzene gets into water from factory releases, boat fuel, and poor disposal of waste. Background levels in soils have not been reported. Ethylbenzene may get into the soil by gasoline or other fuel spills and poor disposal of industrial and household wastes.
Some people are exposed to ethylbenzene in the workplace. Gas and oil workers may be exposed to ethylbenzene either through skin contact or by breathing ethylbenzene vapors. Varnish workers, spray painters, and people involved in gluing operations may also be exposed to high levels of ethylbenzene. Exposure may also occur in factories that use ethylbenzene to produce other chemicals.
You may be exposed to ethylbenzene if you live near hazardous waste sites containing ethylbenzene or areas where ethylbenzene spills have occurred. Higher-than-background levels of ethylbenzene were detected in groundwater near a landfill and near an area where a fuel spill had occurred. No specific information on human exposure to ethylbenzene near hazardous waste sites is available.
You may also be exposed to ethylbenzene from the use of many consumer products. Gasoline is a common source of ethylbenzene exposure. Other sources of ethylbenzene exposure come from the use of this chemical as a solvent in pesticides, carpet glues, varnishes and paints, and from the use of tobacco products. Ethylbenzene does not generally build up in food. However, some vegetables may contain very small amounts of it.