Health Effects Of Benzene Exposure
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What Is Benzene?
Benzene, commonly known as Benzol, is an organic compound frequently used as an additive to other chemical substances. It commonly comes as a highly flammable clear liquid and is often used to make plastic, household detergents, and pesticides because it dissolves quickly in water. Before people learned of its high levels of toxicity, many manufacturers used it to make after shave products because of its pleasing smell. It was also historically used as a gasoline additive before people grew aware of its dangerous side effects. Among its useful purposes, Benzene is also a harmful carcinogen.
How Can You Be Exposed to Benzene?
Benzene exposure is most frequent among workers in oil and rubber industries. However, it can also be found in tobacco smoke and car exhaust. Mechanics working on automobiles have greater chances of being exposed to the chemical. Likewise, anyone exposed to secondhand smoke on a regular basis has an increased risk of health problems. If waste products from manufacturers are not properly disposed of, groundwater can be contaminated with the liquid, polluting drinking water, and placing civilians in the area at risk. Because benzene is common in household items, essentially anyone can be exposed to the substance. However, typically, for one to be at risk, ingestion or inhalation of the substance must have occurred for extended periods of time.
What Are the Health Effects to Prolonged Exposure to Benzene?
Individuals whom have ingested or inhaled Benzene products for a short period of time are less likely to experience health risks. Nevertheless, certain side effects still occur and include, an increased heart rate, shortness of breath, headaches, faintness, and damage to the nervous system. More critical risks from long term exposure include, cancer, such as Myeloid Leukemia, Myelodysplastic Syndrome, Anemia, Lymphoma, or even death.
There are two main types of Myeloid Leukemia: acute and chronic. Acute Myeloid Leukemia begins in the bone marrow where white blood cells are primarily made. A person infected with this disease has an abnormal white blood cell count because cancer cells prohibit healthy ones from reproducing. Because it attacks white blood cells in their earliest stages, it is referred to as a pre-Leukemia, or Myelodysplastic Syndrome. Consequently, the individual suffering from this disease has an abnormally weak immune system and an inability to fight off harmful toxins. Chronic Myeloid Leukemia is diagnosed when cancerous cells develop from already matured white blood cells.
Prolonged exposure to this harmful compound can also cause a person to develop Anemia. Anemia is a deficiency of the red blood cells. The individual has either a low red blood cell count, or the reproduction of the cells is abnormally slow. Since the red blood cells are responsible for transporting oxygen through the body, people who suffer from this disorder lack energy required to complete everyday, ordinary tasks. Fatality is a less common consequence to this disease.
Another Benzene related disorder that destroys the immune system is Lymphoma. This is a type of cancer that begins in the lymphocytes, prohibiting a person from actively fighting off diseases and foreign bodies.
What Can I Do if I Have Been Diagnosed with a Benzene Related Disease?
If you suspect that you have obtained a disease or disorder as a result of long-term exposure to benzene products at your workplace, you first step is to contact an attorney who specializes in these types of cases. Once your have made contacts, he or she can help you gather all health documents and comprehensive medical reports. Finally, based on relevant documents, your attorney can set up an investigation, viewing working environments to determine if a feasible claim is in order. If the company you worked for does not contest your claim, you and your attorney can work together to establish a reasonable settlement. However, if the company refutes the claim, your attorney may take proactive measures to bring proceedings to a court. It is important that you take action right away in order to be awarded with compensations. Contacting a lawyer for help is a step in the right direction. No one should be forced to live with the consequences of Benzene exposure, and there are countless attorneys available to walk you through litigation processes. Attorneys can sympathize with your situation and work to uphold your rights.