Assessment of human exposure to benzene through foods from the Belgian market

R. Medeiro Vinci, L. Jacxsens, J. Van Loco, E. Matsiko, Carl Lachat, T. de Schaetzen, M. Canfyn, I. Van Overmeire, Patrick Kolsteren, B. De Meulenaer

    Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


    Benzene is a volatile organic compound known to be carcinogenic to humans (Group 1) and may be present in food. In the present study, 455 food samples from the Belgian market were analyzed for benzene contents and some possible sources of its occurrence in the foodstuffs were evaluated. Benzene was found above the level of detection in 58% of analyzed samples with the highest contents found in processed foods such as smoked and canned fish, and foods which contained these as ingredients (up to 76.21mugkg(-1)). Unprocessed foods such as raw meat, fish, and eggs contained much lower concentrations of benzene. Using the benzene concentrations in food, a quantitative dietary exposure assessment of benzene intake was conducted on a national representative sample of the Belgian population over 15years of age. The mean benzene intake for all foods was 0.020mugkgbwd(-1) according to a probabilistic analysis. These values are below the minimum risk level for oral chronic exposure to benzene (0.5mugkgbwd(-1)).
    Original languageEnglish
    Issue number8
    Pages (from-to)1001-1007
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


    • B780-tropical-medicine

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