Benzene Ring Compounds IgM

Optimal Result: 0.3 - 2.1 ELISA Index.

Benzene Ring Compounds: Benzene, Pheno, Toluene, Xylene

Benzene causes bone marrow failure. Many epidemiologic, clinical, and laboratory data link benzene to aplastic anemia, acute leukemia, and bone marrow abnormalities.

IgM is the first antibody to appear in the response to initial exposure.

Specific hematologic malignancies directly related to benzene include: acute myeloid leukemia (AML), aplastic anemia, myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), and chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). The American Petroleum Institute (API) stated in 1948 that "it is generally considered that the only absolutely safe concentration for benzene is zero." 

Due to their lipophilicity, most organic solvents, like benzene ring compounds, tend to accumulate in lipid-rich organs, such as nerve tissues in both the peripheral and the central nervous systems.

Studies with adult populations exposed to occupational benzene ring compounds support the finding that changes in the visual function can serve as an early marker of neurotoxic damage, especially that resulting from chronic low-level exposure.

Benzene is known to cross the placenta and has been found in cord blood at levels equal to or higher than maternal blood; furthermore, an association between maternal airborne benzene exposure and birth defects has been noted.

Texas ranks number one in the United States for benzene levels in ambient air and accounts for 48% of all benzene emissions in the nation. In a study conducted in Texas, it was shown that the risk of having a spina bifida-affected infant more than doubled for mothers living in census tracts with estimated benzene levels of ≥ 3 μg/m3. Benzene can lead to genetic toxicity by covalently binding to DNA and forming DNA adducts, which, if not repaired, disrupt the microenvironment of the cell, leading to inhibition of important enzymes, cell death, and alteration of other cells. If this occurs during the critical window of fetal development, the complex cellular processes involved in neurulation (e.g., folate metabolism, cell proliferation, cellular adhesion, and vascular development) may be disturbed.

The end result could be neural tube defects. The detection of antibodies to Benzene Ring Compounds bound to human protein in serum indicates a breakdown in immunological tolerance and induction of chemical intolerance. Benzene or its metabolites can bind to human tissue proteins and form neo-antigens. These new antigens are comprised of the haptenic chemical plus the tissue antigen. The formation of neo-antigens initiates an immune response, which may result in antibody production against the chemical and the human tissue.

Continued exposure to the chemical and the subsequent production of antibodies against various tissue antigens, may result in autoimmune reactivity. Persons with antibodies to Benzene Ring Compounds bound to human protein in serum should avoid exposure to these substances, with special attention taken to clean up the home and work environments.

Quick List Sources of Benzene Ring Compounds: 

- Tobacco Smoke

- Industrial emissions

- Auto exhaust

- Glues

- Paints

- Furniture wax

- Detergents

- Air around gas stations


- NIOSH. Health Hazard Evaluation Report No. 93-802-2338, 1993.

- Kasper DL, Braunwald E, Hauser S. et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 16th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Medical; 2004, p 618.

- Smith MT. Advances in understanding benzene health effects and susceptibility. Ann Rev Pub Health, 2010; 31:133-148.

- American Petroleum Institute, API Toxicological Review, Benzene, September 1948, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Department of Health and Human Services.

- Lee E-H, Eum KD, Cho SI, et al. Acquired dyschromatopsia among petrochemical industry- workers exposed to benzene. Neuro Toxicology, 2007; 28(2):356–363.

- Ithnin A, Shaari RAH, Sahani M, et al. Effects of pollutant diesel fuels on neurobehavioral performance among workers in locomotive depot. Am J Environ Sci, 2011; 7(3):248-253.

- ATSDR (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry). 2007. Toxicological Profile of Benzene. Available:

- Lupo PJ, Symanski E, Waller DK, et al. Maternal exposure to ambient levels of benzene and neural tube defects among offspring: Texas, 1999–2004. Environ Health Perspect, 2001;119(3):397–402.

- U.S. EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). 2007. Access the air quality system data mart. Available:

What does it mean if your Benzene Ring Compounds IgM result is too high?

Classified as a hydrocarbon, Benzene [C6H6] is an organic chemical compound composed of 6 carbon atoms forming a hexagonal ring arrangement. Benzene is a solvent found in crude oil. Because it has a high octane number, it is utilized in gasoline. Benzene is also used as a precursor to heavy chemicals (i.e. ethylbenzene, cumene from which acetone and phenols are derived).

Most solvents are neurotoxic and many are carcinogenic.

Acute inhalation exposure to high concentrations of benzene can cause the following: 

- drowsiness,

- fatigue,

- nausea,

- vertigo,

- narcosis,

- and other symptoms of central nervous system (CNS) depression. 

However, the most damaging health effects associated with benzene exposure are chronic effects due to repeated exposure to low concentrations over many years.

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