The metabolism of benzene differs from that of other aromatic hydrocarbons; the excretion of phenol in the urine of workers exposed to ambient benzene bears a linear relationship to the degree of exposure. A semi-quantitative screening test using stable reagents not requiring special apparatus or laboratory facilities permits an estimation of urinary phenolic bodies, and hence the exposure to benzene. The test may be used (a) to determine whether individual workers need further investigation because of exposure to benzene, (b) as a group test to determine whether the environment is acceptable, and (c) to determine whether solvents often regarded as safe contain benzene.
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