Benzene Poisoning Overview

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What is it?
Benzene is a toxic chemical compound that has been used for a variety of industrial and commercial purposes for almost 200 years. It is also used in household cleaning items and other products that we use on a regular basis. However, most people are exposed in very small doses, and it does not have an effect. However, there are cases where people have been exposed to benzene in large doses without realizing it, and this can be very serious. Benzene exposure can lead to the development of a number of serious health hazards. Although certain regulations have been instituted within the United States in order to protect the public from any benzene exposure risks, there are still cases where people are exposed.

Benzene Poisoning
Although Benzene is naturally occurring, the greatest health risk to people is posed by industrial processes such as plastics manufacturing that require benzene, and from man-made products cleaning products, paint, etc. that contain it. In the past, benzene used to be added to foods and other products because it has a sweet smell. However, as soon as it was found to be harmful and linked to a number of illnesses, the use of benzene because widely regulated. People can be exposed to benzene in one of three ways: inhalation (breathing it in), ingestion (consuming it through food or water), or absorption through the skin.

Inhalation of benzene is not usually fatal, as it must be inhaled in large doses in order to elicit any serious effects. Some symptoms of inhalation may include: dizziness, increased/rapid heart rate, chronic headaches, muscle twitching or tremors, drowsiness, and unconsciousness.

Benzene ingestion results from the eating or drinking of foods and beverages containing benzene. Benzene water and soil contamination are serious concerns, as they are hard to trace. The chemical gets into the soil and water from leaks is places where it has been stored, or from factory and manufacturing emissions that make their way into the environment. It was once added to coffee sweeteners, causing problems for many people in later years. Effects and symptoms of benzene ingestion include vomiting, nausea, stomach irritation, sleepiness, dizziness, rapid or increased heart rate, convulsions, and sometimes even death.

Absorption of benzene is rare, but it does happen. Absorption is made easier if the skin is open (through a wound or scratch) or if the chemical is mixed in with a readily-absorbed substance. If enough benzene is absorbed through the skin, it could lead to the development of a number of serious health hazards, the most serious cases effecting bone marrow, and a deficiency in elements of the blood. Because it has the potential to effect the bone marrow, benzene exposure may lead to cancers such as leukemia, or other serious conditions such as anemia.

Legalities of Benzene Poisoning
Benzene poisoning is serious and should not be dealt with lightly. Although there are many medical professionals who can aid you if you believe you have been poisoned, there is unfortunately no cure for it. If you suspect that your benzene exposure has led to a deadly disease or chronic condition that affects your daily life, you may have grounds for a lawsuit against your employer. It is the responsibility of your employer to ensure your safety, take measures to minimize exposure, and follow the standards set forth by the government. If they fail to do so, the may be deemed negligent. This can be grounds for injury and wrongful death legal action. The monetary gain from Benzene lawsuits is to provide compensation for pain, suffering and legal expenses incurred as a result of an employer's negligence. In order to file a lawsuit and to make sure you get the compensation you deserve, hire a lawyer who specializes in cases like yours, such as a personal injury lawyer or workers' compensation attorney. They will know the necessary steps to take and how to procure evidence, and will be on your side through the difficult and lengthy process. Do yourself a favor; contact a lawyer today.