BTEX compounds are often used in the manufacture of common products such as adhesives and paints. Though naturally occurring, they are known to have toxic effects and cause pollution, giving rise to state and federal regulations. Phoslab Environmental Services can help you stay in compliance with BTEX regulations by providing accurate and complete concentration reports.
BTEX is an acronym for a group of volatile organic compounds (VOCs):
Benzene is a colorless liquid hydrocarbon that is found in crude oil, gasoline, and cigarette smoke. It is also used as a starter when making other chemicals including plastics, detergents, drugs, and pesticides. In the past, benzene was often used in solvents as a gasoline additive but these uses have decreased due to its toxic effects. Driving a car or fueling at a gas station can increase your daily benzene intake.
Toluene is a colorless liquid with a sweet, pungent odor that occurs naturally in crude oil. It is often used as a gasoline additive and as a solvent. Gas stations are often high in toluene concentration.
Ethylbenzene is a component in some consumer products and it is common in ambient air as a result of vehicle emissions and industrial activities. Levels are low in rural areas but are much more concentrated at urban sites.
Xylene is a chemical that is used in printing, rubber, and leather industries. It released through industrial activities and motor vehicle exhausts. The concentration of xylene in ambient air is significantly higher in suburban areas than in other areas.
Reducing BTEX exposure is important both for individuals who may face health hazards and for the environment which faces pollution. Our analysis plays a crucial role in reducing BTEX exposure.
As VOCs, BTEX chemicals are released into the air, soil, and water as emissions or leakage. This can happen in a number of different ways, including but not limited to:
- Leakage in underground storage tanks
- Pipeline leaks
- Surface spills
- Refinery facility leaks
- Vehicle and aircraft emissions
- Cigarette smoke
- Other combustion process
The water solubility, diffusivity and polarity parameters of BTEX compounds make them highly likely to pollute soil, air, and also groundwater. People can therefore be exposed to BTEX in several ways. They can ingest it through contaminated water, inhale it through the air, and absorb it through the skin. This makes BTEX analysis and testing services essential. In case of a contamination, remediation approaches typically include bio-stimulation, soil vapor extraction and reactive barriers.
BTEX health effects
BTEX analysis is crucial because exposure BTEX contamination has been linked with a long list of health hazards. Some of the possible BTEX health effects include:
- Irritation of the skin, eyes and note
- Severe effects to the central nervous system that include exhaustion, dizziness, and headaches
- Severe damage to the liver, heart, kidneys, and lungs
In addition, benzene is classified as a Group 1 carcinogen; long-term exposure can lead to leukemia.
Phoslab Environmental Services is a full-service environmental testing facility that is certified by the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program. Our testing methods offer accurate analysis and meet EPA BTEX analysis requirements. They include:
- BTEX water analysis
- Analysis of BTEX compounds in soil
- Organic Vapor Analyzer
The BTEX analysis method we use provides you complete concentration reports of individual compounds, at environmental (ppb) or industrial (ppm) levels.
BTEX regulations affecting Florida
The EPA sets the acceptable level of contaminants in drinking water that is supplied by public systems, referred to as Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs). The MCL is determined based on a formula designed to limit the lifetime exposure to BTEX compounds in order to prevent cancer.
The EPA and Chapter 62-770 of the Florida Administrative Code also designates proper soil sampling and assessment procedures. The procedures govern how samples are obtained an analyzed.
The allowable concentrations of benzene, toluene, and ethylbenzene vary by setting. For example, benzene may be present at 3 ppb in the ambient air but at 1 ppb in fracking fluids. Phoslab Environmental Services keeps up-to-date on the applicable regulations to help you stay compliant.
Florida’s waterways and wildlife are known around the world for their richness and beauty. Pollutants like BTEX compounds in the air, groundwater, and soil threaten the waterways and local ecology, as well as the health and safety of human residents.
Florida BTEX testing by Phoslab
Phoslab Environmental Services has been providing environmental testing services throughout greater central Florida since the 1960’s. To find a lab that can provide accurate results to help keep you in compliance with local and federal regulations, call us at (863)576-5083.
Additional BTEX testing resources:
- American Cancer Society, Benzene and Cancer Risk, http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/othercarcinogens/intheworkplace/benzene
- Environmental Protection Agency, Toluene, https://www3.epa.gov/airtoxics/hlthef/toluene.html
- Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Standard Operating Procedures PCS-004, http://www.dep.state.fl.us/waste/quick_topics/publications/pss/pcp/a-soil-MEMO.pdf
- All You Need To Know About BTEX Contamination, http://phoslab.com/btex/all-you-need-to-know-about-btex-contamination/
- BTEX: Risks and Control Measures, http://phoslab.com/btex/btex-risks-and-control-measures/
- The Why and How of BTEX Testing, http://phoslab.com/btex/why-how-btex-testing/