California OEHHA: Benzene Reference Exposure Levels Comment Period

June 21, 2013

The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) is requesting public comments in regards to a draft document which proposes a revision to the Reference Exposure Levels (RELs) of benzene. RELs define the concentrations in the air which are not expected to cause adverse health effects for specified exposure durations. Under the Air Toxics Hot Spots Program (Health and Safety Code Section 44360(b)(2)), the OEHHA is obligated to provide guidelines on how to conduct health risk assessments. As a result of this, the OEHHA developed a Technical Support Document (TSD) in 2008 in order to provide updated guidelines for the development of acute, 8-hour, and chronic RELs. A new update shall be made by the OEHHA to include RELs for benzene.

The following are the :

Acute REL (for a 1-hour exposure): 27ug/m3

8-Hour REL (for repeated 8-hour exposure): 7ug/m3

Chronic REL (for long-term exposure): 7ug/m3


At the conclusion of the comment period, the information received and the subsequent responses from the OEHHA will undergo a review by the State's Scientific Review Panel on Toxic Air Contaminants.

OEHHA will hold several public workshops where comments may be given in person. On July 17, 2013 the Sierra Hearing Room (Cal/EPA Headquarters-Joe Serna Building 1001 I Street in Sacramento, California) will hold a workshop between 10am and 3pm. Further workshops will be announced in the coming weeks.

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