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Industrial Hygiene Testing

Category Press Release
Publish Date 11/29/2023
Author Paul Cochrane
Title Residential Indoor Air Quality Guidelines Proposed for Benzene in Canada
Introduction EMSL Analytical provides indoor air quality and industrial hygiene testing services and sampling supplies to identify and mitigate exposure risks to benzene and other chemicals.

Toronto, Ontario, November 29, 2023

Health Canada recently proposed residential indoor air quality (IAQ) guidelines for benzene. The agency describes benzene as a volatile organic compound (VOC) with a high vapor pressure that quickly evaporates into the air when released into the environment. This often leads to indoor concentrations of benzene that are generally higher than outdoor concentrations.

Benzene is widely used in Canada and the United States. In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports it ranks in the top 20 chemicals for production volume. It has many applications and can be used to make other chemicals which are then used to make plastics, resins, and nylon and other synthetic fibers. It is also used to make some types of rubbers, lubricants, dyes, detergents, drugs, and pesticides. Benzene is also a component of crude oil, gasoline, and even cigarette smoke.

Health Canada concluded that benzene may constitute a danger to human life or health as a non-threshold carcinogen back in 1993. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has determined that benzene causes cancer in humans. Breathing elevated levels of it can also cause drowsiness, dizziness, rapid heart rate, headaches, tremors, confusion, and even unconsciousness. In some situations, benzene and other VOCs can enter a building if the soil or groundwater is contaminated through a process known as vapor intrusion.

“The proposed long-term residential IAQ guideline for benzene in Canada is 0.6 μg/m3 (0.2 ppb),” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “A short-term guideline value has not been derived for indoor air exposure according to Health Canada. At EMSL, our indoor air quality and industrial hygiene professionals offer laboratory testing services and sampling supplies to detect and measure benzene levels and many other chemical exposure risks.”

EMSL has sponsored an educational video about exposure risks to benzene in the home and work environment that can be seen at: 

To learn more about benzene or other indoor air quality, industrial hygiene and environmental testing services, please visit, call (800) 220-3675 or email


About EMSL Canada, Inc.

EMSL Canada is an internationally recognized provider of environmental, indoor air quality, and materials testing services and products to professionals and the public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as provincial regulating bodies.

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