HEADQUARTERS 1436 U Street. NW, Suite 100 | Washington, DC 20009 | (202) 667-6982
CALIFORNIA OFFICE 2201 Broadway, Suite 308 | Oakland, CA 94612
MIDWEST OFFICE 103 E. 6th Street, Suite 201 | Ames, IA 50010
SACRAMENTO OFFICE 1107 9th Street, Suite 340 | Sacramento, CA 95814
National Drinking Water Database
Benzene in Maryland
Benzene is a petroleum chemical that contaminates drinking water due to emissions from petroleum and chemical industries, leaching landfills and gas storage tanks. [read more]
Benzene is a chemical from petroleum used widely to make other chemicals such as Styrofoam, dyes, detergents, drugs, pesticides, and chemicals used in nylon and other synthetic fibers. It is also found in crude oil, gasoline and cigarette smoke (World Health Organization (WHO) 2004a).
Benzene contamination in water is due to industrial waste discharges from factories; disposal of benzene-containing products; gasoline leaks from underground storage tanks; and from air pollution (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) 2009b).
Annually, millions of pounds of benzene are released into the environment, contaminating air, water and soil. The petroleum, chemicals and primary metals industries account for the majority of those releases. Together, petroleum production facilities and the chemical industry released 61 percent of the total amount of benzene into the environment (USEPA 2009i).
Benzene is a known human carcinogen, causing leukemia and possibly non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and multiple myeloma. Benzene has also been linked with non-cancer health conditions such as anemia, central nervous system depression and other nervous system effects (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry 2007d).
The Most Polluted Communities in Maryland
1 water utilities reported detecting Benzene in tap water since 2004, according to EWG's analysis of water quality data supplied by state water agencies
Ranked by highest average Benzene level
|Rank||System||Population Served||Positive test results of total reported tests||Average Level|
|1||City of Aberdeen|
|14,500||1 of 12||0.11 ppb|
(0 to 1.35 ppb)
Health Based Limits for Benzene
|Maximum Contaminant Limit Goal (MCLG)||A non-enforceable health goal that is set at a level at which no known or anticipated adverse effect on the health of persons occurs and which allows an adequate margin of safety. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.||0 ppb|
|California Public Health Goals||Defined by the State of California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) as the level of contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. For acutely toxic substances, levels are set at which scientific evidence indicates that no known or anticipated adverse effects on health will occur, plus an adequate margin-of safety. PHGs for carcinogens or other substances which can cause chronic disease shall be based solely on health effects without regard to cost impacts and shall be set at levels which OEHHA has determined do not pose any significant risk to health.||0.15 ppb|
|One in one million (10-6) Cancer Risk||The concentration of a chemical in drinking water corresponding to an excess estimated lifetime cancer risk of 1 in 1,000,000. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.||1 ppb|
|EPA Human Health Water Quality Criteria||Water quality criteria set by the US EPA provide guidance for states and tribes authorized to establish water quality standards under the Clean Water Act (CWA) to protect human health. These are non-enforceable standards based upon exposure by both drinking water and the contribution of water contamination to other consumed foods. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.||2.2 ppb|
|Maximum Contaminant Limit (MCL)||The enforceable standard which defines the highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to health-based limits (Maximum Contaminant Level Goals, or MCLGs) as feasible using the best available analytical and treatment technologies and taking cost into consideration. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.||5 ppb|
|One in ten thousand (10-4) Cancer Risk||The concentration of a chemical in drinking water corresponding to an excess estimated lifetime cancer risk of 1 in 10,000. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.||100 ppb|
|Drinking Water Equivalent Level||A lifetime exposure concentration protective of adverse, noncarcinogenic health effects, that assumes all of the exposure to a contaminant is from drinking water. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.||100 ppb|
|Children's health-based limit for 1-day exposure||Concentration of a chemical in drinking water that is not expected to cause any adverse, noncarcinogenic health effects for up to one day of exposure. The One-Day health-based limit (or Health Advisory, HA) is typically set to protect a 10-kg child consuming 1 liter of water per day. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.||200 ppb|
|Children's health-based limit for 10-day exposure||Concentration of a chemical in drinking water that is not expected to cause any adverse, noncarcinogenic effects for up to ten days of exposure. The Ten-Day health-based limit (or Health Advisory, HA) is typically set to protect a 10-kg child consuming 1 liter of water per day. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.||200 ppb|
Violation Summary for Benzene in Maryland
Data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency includes the following violations of federal standards in Maryland since 2004
|Violation Type||Number of Violations|
|Failure to monitor regularly||1|