Next Article in Journal
The Asbestos Ban in Korea from a Grassroots Perspective: Why Did It Occur?
Previous Article in Journal
Examining the Impact of Maternal Individual Features on Children’s Behavioral Problems in Adoptive Families: The Role of Maternal Temperament and Neurobiological Markers
Article Menu
Issue 2 (February) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(2), 197; doi:10.3390/ijerph15020197

Managing Exposure to Benzene and Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons at Two Oil Refineries 1977–2014

Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (FIOH), Topeliuksenkatu 41 B, P.O. Box 40, Työterveyslaitos, FI-00032 Helsinki, Finland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 December 2017 / Revised: 15 January 2018 / Accepted: 18 January 2018 / Published: 24 January 2018
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1060 KB, uploaded 26 January 2018]   |  


Air concentrations of and inhalation exposure to total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) and benzene was monitored separately at two oil refineries from 1977 to 2014. Prevention policies and control measures that may explain changes were surveyed. The aim was to evaluate how the application of of Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series OHSAS 18001.04 principles as well as Environmental protection Agency EPA and European Oil Company Organisation for Environment, Health and Safety CONCAWE practices have influenced air concentrations. Benzene air concentrations declined in 11 of 17 units, six of which were associated with declining exposures. Benzene air concentrations declined across all units on average by 46%. This amounts to an average yearly decline of 1.7%. TPH air concentrations declined in 10 of 17 units, seven of which were associated with declining exposures. The average decline in TPH air concentrations was 49%, corresponding to 1.3% per year. As a result, average working day exposure in 10 of 17 units have declined significantly and today, benzene and TPH exposure in most units are well below 10% of the current Occupational Exposure Limit (OEL8h:s). A decline in air concentrations have coincided with consistent implementation of control measures. Such measures include on-line monitoring of leaks; benzene recovery; floating container roofs; improved valves and seals; hermetic pumps; recovery of loading gases and instalment of torches in terminals; cutback in coke combustion; a new production line spanning directly from the dock to aromatics production; and recovery of loading gases in the doc. Other tools in exposure management include personal leak monitors, on-line measurements, monitoring campaigns, risk assessment, and availability and user training of protective equipment. However, improvements are still needed. Hydrocarbon or benzene air concentrations have not declined in 8 of 17 units, in some of which concentrations exceed 10% of the relevant OEL8h value. In addition, for benzene even 10% of the current OEL, 0.1 ppm, might still possess a risk. With this in mind, methods to estimate exposure at the refineries need to be improved to enable measuring benzene concentrations <0.1 ppm. Shut downs of the refinery have been associated with peaks in exposure concentrations. Consequently, effort should be placed on safe working methods pertaining to shutdowns. Also, the connection and detachment of hoses continues to be problematic from the point of view of controlling exposure. View Full-Text
Keywords: oil refining; hydrocarbon exposure; best practices oil refining; hydrocarbon exposure; best practices

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

Scifeed alert for new publications

Never miss any articles matching your research from any publisher
  • Get alerts for new papers matching your research
  • Find out the new papers from selected authors
  • Updated daily for 49'000+ journals and 6000+ publishers
  • Define your Scifeed now

SciFeed Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Tuomi, T.; Veijalainen, H.; Santonen, T. Managing Exposure to Benzene and Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons at Two Oil Refineries 1977–2014. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 197.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top