Date of Award

Fall 2015

Degree Type

Non-Thesis Project

Degree Name

MS Industrial Hygiene


Industrial Hygiene

Committee Chair

Julie Hart

First Advisor

Terry Spear


Benzene is a common chemical in hazardous waste streams. Benzene contaminated wastes may come in the form of a liquid, solid, or sludge. The amount of benzene seen in waste streams depends upon the generator. The generator in this study has a steady supply of benzene wastes. The waste stream has the same consistency as waste streams from other generators; however there is variability in the concentration of benzene. As a result due to the lack of a consistent concentration, additional respiratory protection is in use to mitigate any additional risk from benzene. The waste is processed on average within of week of receiving the shipment from the waste generator.

A full service laboratory, located on site, is devoted to testing all incoming waste. However, the lab is not set up to process or analyze any environmental testing samples. All environmental testing media is sent to another laboratory for testing. The facility uses passive badge testing to measure atmospheric benzene concentrations. These values are used to determine what form of respiratory protection is needed. On average, it takes 2-3 weeks to receive the results from the badges which is well after the waste has been processed. This report investigated the potential relationship between the benzene values seen in the waste as compared to the values seen from the results of the badge testing. It is hypothesized that a factor based calculation from a comparison of benzene in the waste and atmosphere, similar to what is used in Method 1311: Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure may predict what atmospheric concentrations of benzene would be for certain concentrations seen in waste.

Statistical analysis, including a Pearson correlation, indicated significant variability and a lack of linearity for the waste stream benzene concentration and the atmospheric concentration datasets. Factor calculated atmospheric benzene concentrations displayed a difference of 28% from the observed atmospheric value. This report showed the difficulty in attempting to predict the atmospheric concentration of a chemical for the basis of determining the proper amount of respiratory protection.


A report submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science Industrial Hygiene Distance Learning / Professional Track Montana Tech of the University of Montana 2015