New annual limit set for benzene

Posted on February 1, 2013

The Alberta government has established a new annual limit (referred to as an ambient air quality objective) of 0.9 parts per billion (ppb) for benzene. The existing one-hour limit of 9 parts per billion (ppb) has not changed.

Fort Air Partnership monitors benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylenes and styrene compounds (BTEX/S), which are volatile organic compounds. Benzene is found in crude oil and is also formed in oil refineries and other petrochemical operations for use in the manufacturing of other chemical products. It is also a component of gasoline. Small amounts of benzene are created wheneven an organic (i.e. carbon-based) material is burned, e.g. gasoline or cigarettes or during a forest fire.

Alberta Ambient Air Quality Objectives are established by Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development to define maximum acceptable concentrations or limits of specific pollutants, based on an evaluation of scientific, social, technical and economic factors. As air monitoring service providers, Alberta airsheds do not set the standards or limits for air quality. Rather, the data they collect is compared to these objectives set by the provinicial government.

More information on the new benzene objective: Alberta Ambient Air Quality Objectives: Benzene

Announcement reposted with permission from Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development
For more information, contact:
Laura Blair, Air Effects Scientist, ESRD