Benzene Email Scare: Know the Facts

An email concerning benzene – a chemical linked to cancer – and the plastic interiors of cars has been circulating inboxes throughout the United States.

Perhaps you’ve even received one of these emails from a family member, friend or coworker. The problem with such messages – though sent from well-meaning folks – is that they may not be completely accurate.

In cases such as this one, it’s important to consider the source of the information. Is it from a reputable government website, a nonprofit hospital system or an anonymous email that’s been forwarded dozens of times?

Thankfully, the American Cancer Society has posted a link to address the claims made in the email concerning dangerous levels of benzene being released from the plastic surfaces inside a hot car.

  • The ACS page also makes recommendations for proven ways to reduce your exposure to benzene:
  • Avoid cigarette smoke. Quit smoking if you do.
  • Stay safe from benzene at your workplace by discussing any concerns with your employer and consulting the Occupational Safety & Health Administration for information.
  • Avoid skin contact with gasoline, which contains benzene. Patronize gas stations that use vapor recovery systems to capture fumes.
  • Minimize your exposure to benzene-containing products such as: solvents, paints and art supplies. Make sure they’re only used in a room that’s properly ventilated.

Source: American Cancer Society

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