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Reviews on Environmental Health

Editor-in-Chief: Carpenter, David O. / Sly, Peter

Editorial Board Member: Brugge, Doug / Diaz-Barriga, Fernando / Edwards, John W. / Field, R.William / Hales, Simon / Horowitz, Michal / Maibach, H.I. / Shaw, Susan / Stein, Renato / Tao, Shu / Tchounwou, Paul B.

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Benzene absorption in animals and man: an overview

Jurij J. Hostynek1 / Sonia A. Lamel1 / 1

1Department of Dermatology, School of Medicine, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA

Corresponding author: Howard I. Maibach, Department of Dermatology, School of Medicine, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143-0989, USA Phone: +415 476-2468, Fax: +415 753-5304

Citation Information: . Volume 27, Issue 2-3, Pages 85–101, ISSN (Online) 2191-0308, ISSN (Print) 0048-7554, DOI: 10.1515/reveh-2012-0008, October 2012

Publication History

Published Online:


Benzene is a widespread, naturally occurring substance of environmental concern as systemic exposure in humans is proven to be carcinogenic. Dermal exposure is a common and significant route of systemic entry and percutaneous absorption is critical in exposure risk assessment. This article reviews the scientific principles, methodologies, and research behind the multiple steps of the percutaneous absorption of benzene in animals and man and the application of this information to optimize exposure risk assessments. A focus on occupational exposures to benzene is made with an exploration of the limitations of current preventative measures and hazard assessments. Finally, recommendations for future research to fill existing knowledge gaps are made.

Keywords: absorption; animals; benzene; humans; percutaneous penetration; risk assessment

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