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Prop 65 and Benzene, What You Need to Know


LA Testing provides analytical services to protect the public and help businesses comply with California’s Proposition 65.

Garden Grove, CA

In 1986, California voters approved an initiative to address increasing concerns about exposure to toxic chemicals. That initiative, the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, is better known by its original name of Proposition 65.

Proposition 65 requires businesses to notify Californians about significant amounts of chemicals in the products they purchase, in their homes or workplaces, or that are released into the environment. This list includes benzene, a chemical that is a colorless or light yellow liquid at room temperature. It has a sweet odor and is highly flammable and evaporates into the air very quickly. Because its vapor is heavier than air it may sink into low-lying areas.

Benzene is formed from both natural processes and human activities. It is widely used in the United States and it ranks in the top 20 chemicals for production volume. Industries use benzene to make other chemicals that are used in plastics, resins, and nylon and synthetic fibers. Benzene is also used to make some types of lubricants, rubbers, dyes, detergents, drugs, and pesticides. Natural sources of benzene include volcanoes and forest fires. Benzene is also a natural part of crude oil, gasoline, and cigarette smoke.

“According to the CDC, indoor air generally contains levels of benzene higher than that found in outdoor air,” reported Ben Sublasky, National Director of Client Services for LA Testing and EMSL Analytical, a leading environmental testing laboratory. “The benzene in indoor air comes from products that contain benzene such as glues, paints, furniture wax, and detergents. Benzene can also leak from underground storage tanks or from hazardous waste sites containing benzene that can contaminate well water. People working in industries that make or use benzene may be exposed to the highest levels of it,” he continued.

Benzene works by causing cells to not work properly. It can also damage the immune system by changing blood levels of antibodies and causing the loss of white blood cells. The seriousness of poisoning caused by benzene depends on the amount, route, and length of time of exposure, as well as the age and preexisting medical condition of the exposed person.

LA Testing provides environmental and Reference Exposure Level (REL) testing services for this potentially harmful chemical. To learn more about Proposition 65 testing services please visit, email or call (800) 755-1794.

About LA Testing and EMSL Analytical, Inc.
LA Testing and EMSL Analytical are providers of environmental testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The companies have an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.


 Prop 65 Benzene
 California Proposition 65
 safe drinking water
 toxic enforcement act
 lubricants rubbers dyes

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