Detecting benzene with the UltraRAE 3000



Honeywell RAE Systems – UltraRAE 3000

The Honeywell UltraRAE 3000 is a cutting-edge Compound-Specific Monitor. It boasts a Photoionisation Detector (PID) with an extensive range suitable for various applications, from refinery maintenance to hazardous material response.

It offers dual detection modes for assessing total benzene exposure and boasts high sensitivity to benzene with a detection range as low as 10 ppb. The device reduce false alarms, has a rapid response time, built-in humidity sensor, and wireless connectivity.

User-friendly, cost-effective, and applicable in confined space entry screening, spill response, and monitoring tasks. The package includes essential accessories for operation and maintenance, ensuring convenient usage and long-term ownership value.

Key Features

  • • Proven PID technology
  • • 3-second response in VOC mode or 60 seconds in compound-specific mode
  • • Extended range up to 10,000 ppm (in VOC mode) with improved linearity
  • • Built-in humidity sensor
  • • Automatic temperature-controlled sampling time calculation
  • • Highly specific readings, combining a 9.8eV UV lamp and RAE-Sep™ benzene tube
  • • New sampling probe design provides instant tube-breakthrough visibility
  • • Versatile VOC or Benzene-Specific modes
  • • Real-time wireless with built-in Bluetooth and optional RAELink3 portable modem
  • • Integrated RAE Systems Correction Factors list for more than 200 compounds
  • What does it include?
  • • UltraRAE 3000 Monitor, Model PGM-7360
  • • Wireless communication module built-in
  • • Datalogging with ProRAE Studio II Package for Windows® XP, Windows® Vista, or Windows®7
  • • Travel Charger
  • • RAE UV lamp and RAE-Sep™ Tubes
  • • Flex-I-Probe™ and short probe
  • • External filter
  • • Red rubber boot
  • • Alkaline battery adapter
  • • Lamp-cleaning kit
  • • Tool kit
  • • Lithium-ion (Li-Ion) battery with universal AC/DC charger and international plug kit
  • • Operation CD-ROM
  • • Operation & Maintenance manual
  • • Soft leather carrying case

Benzene calibration

Before performing a compound-specific measurement for Benzene or Butadiene using a RAESep™ separation tube, make sure the UltraRAE 3000+ is in Tube Mode and that the appropriate tube type is selected. The UltraRAE 3000+ only acts as a compound-specific measurement device when it is equipped with a 9.8eV lamp. The UltraRAE 3000+ is designed to auto-sense the lamp type. It can also be manually set to default to a 9.8eV lamp type.

To begin measuring, turn on the UltraRAE 3000+. This screen is shown, which includes the CF (correction factor) and measurement gas type for calibration reference. Press [N/-] to advance. Once the tube is in place, begin measuring by pressing [Y/+]. The display shows a countdown (Sampling time depends on the type of separation tube selected and the temperature). Press [Y/+] to continue sampling with the tube for 15 minutes to establish a STEL reading, or press [N/-] to return to the main menu.

If you press [N/-] to return to the main menu, it shows the tube type instead of the CF (correction factor). Press [N/-] to advance to this screen. If you press [Y/+], you are asked, “Clear peak value! Are You Sure?” to confirm. Press [Y/+] to clear the Peak value and exit to VOC operation. Remove the tube and put the inlet back together. Then press [N/-]. After a few seconds, the UltraRAE 3000+ enters VOC mode.

ultrarae 3000



Benzene legislation changes

In the UK, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) already publishes OELs for various chemicals, including benzene. The document is called EH40 Workplace Exposure Limits (WEL). The EU-wide 8-hour TWA for benzene recently changed from 1 part per million (ppm), which equals a concentration of 3.25 mg/m3 to 0.5 ppm equivalent to 1.65 mg/m3.

This exposure limit will remain effective until April 5, 2026, after which it will be further reduced to 0.66 mg/m3, equivalent to 0.2 ppm.

Why is benzene so dangerous?

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) possess significant vapor pressure at ambient temperatures, leading them to evaporate readily. This makes it easy to breathe them in, absorb them through your skin, or even swallow them accidentally. The extent of their impact on workers’ health depends on the duration and level of exposure.

Similar to other organic solvents, immediate symptoms resulting from minor exposure to high concentrations (e.g., hundreds of parts per million) may include:

  • • Headaches
  • • Fatigue
  • • Nausea
  • • Dizziness
  • • Unconsciousness at high levels (in the thousands of parts per million), constituting an acute safety incident.

From a long-term health perspective, both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classify benzene as a Group 1 carcinogen.

Prolonged exposure to elevated levels of benzene can lead to various forms of leukaemia and adversely affect red and white blood cell counts. Chronic effects may include myeloid leukaemia, lymphocytic leukaemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and aplastic anaemia.

Tests such as urine or blood checks can show if you’ve been exposed, but may not catch it right away. This means some harm could already be done by the time the test results come back.

Individuals who have suffered from benzene poisoning requiring medical intervention exhibit a significantly heightened risk of mortality from leukaemia.

Why do we detect benzene?

Benzene exposure can arise during its manufacturing, transportation, and utilization in the oil, chemical, and petrochemical sectors. The significance of exposure to this substance may vary, being crucial during both routine and non-routine operations (consult local regulatory guidelines, agencies, and hygiene specialists). Benzene is a known carcinogen, capable of inducing cancer.

Exposure to high concentrations of this compound, typically in the range of 10,000 to 20,000 ppm, can lead to fatality. Moreover, Benzene is suspected to be harmful to several vital bodily systems, including cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, immunological, neurological, and respiratory.

Findings from a National Occupational Exposure Survey involving over 400,000 individuals exposed to Benzene rank it among the top concerns out of approximately 12,000 exposure incidents.


The UltraRAE 3000+ is a highly advanced Compound-Specific Monitor renowned for its versatility and precision in detecting volatile organic compounds (VOCs), particularly benzene. With a specialised Photoionisation Detector (PID), it offers an extended detection range from 0.01 to 10,000 ppm in VOC mode and from 10 ppb to 200 ppm in benzene-specific mode.

This wide range makes it suitable for various applications, including entry pre-screening during maintenance at refineries and plants, hazardous material response, marine spill management, and downstream monitoring in refineries. Its dual detection mode enables users to choose between a 60-second snapshot or a 15-minute Short-Term Exposure Limit (STEL) measurement, ensuring comprehensive assessment of benzene exposure over different time frames.

Moreover, the instrument’s high sensitivity to benzene reduces the risk of false alarms, thanks to its advanced speciation method, ensuring accurate detection and minimising unnecessary disruptions in the workplace.

Additionally, the UltraRAE 3000+ offers a total VOC measurement mode, further enhancing its utility in assessing workplace safety. With an extended range and the ability to detect benzene at low concentrations, it meets the strict requirements of benzene exposure limits, safeguarding worker health.

This instrument’s comprehensive capabilities make it an indispensable tool for industries where benzene exposure is a concern; providing real-time monitoring and enabling timely intervention to mitigate risks. Whether for routine monitoring or emergency response, the UltraRAE 3000+ stands out as a reliable and efficient solution for detecting benzene and other VOCs, ensuring a safe working environment for personnel across various sectors.


For more information on the UltraRAE 3000, please visit: UltraRAE 3000 Rae Systems Benzene Gas Monitor | Rockall Safety

Alternatively, please give us a call on 02920 759 683.


Written by Rhys Redrup

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