What Is Benzene

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What Is Benzene?

Benzene is a chemical. At room temperature, it is a colorless or light yellow colored liquid, which has a sweet odor. It is highly flammable and evaporates into the air rapidly. The vapor from the chemical is heavier than air, which may cause it to sink into lower lying areas. Benzene dissolves slightly in water and will float on top of water.

Where is Benzene Found?

One of the most commonly used chemicals in the United States, benzene is both a naturally occurring chemical, and the product of various human actions. People can be exposed to benzene in the general environment, at work, and by using some consumer products. It is produced by the burning of products or things in nature, such as volcanoes or forest fires. It is also a natural byproduct of cigarette smoke, crude oil, and gasoline.

In addition to occurring in nature as the result of burning, benzene is also used in certain industries. It is used in the makeup and manufacture of plastics, resins, detergents, pesticides, explosives, pharmaceuticals, and other chemicals. Benzene is also used as a solvent for fats, waxes, resins, paints, rubber, and other elements, in the extraction of oils from nuts and seeds, in motor fuels, and in some printing processes.

Who Can Be Effected by Benzine?

Individuals involved in the manufacture of goods that use benzene or make benzene have the potential to be exposed to the highest levels of benzene. The public may be exposed to benzene as a result of emissions from burning wood, oil, or coal, motor vehicle exhaust, and the evaporation of industrial solvents. In addition, people who are exposed to cigarette smoke are also exposed to benzene. The general population may also be exposed to benzene by drinking water that has been contaminated by it.

What Happens in the Body When Exposed to Benzene?

Benzene exposure can cause cells to work improperly. For instance, benzene may cause bone marrow to not produce enough red blood cells. A lack of red blood cells can lead to anemia. In addition, benzene could have adverse effects on the immune system. It can change blood levels of antibodies, resulting in a loss of white blood cells, which are used to fight illness and disease.

What Are Immediate Symptoms of Benzene Exposure?

Breathing benzene can result in dizziness, drowsiness, headaches, confusion, unconsciousness, drowsiness, rapid heart rate, or death (if exposed to very high levels). These symptoms can be experienced within minutes or several hours of exposure.

Eating food or drinking liquids that contain high levels of benzene can cause dizziness, sleepiness, vomiting, stomach irritation, rapid heartbeat, or death (if exposed to very high levels) within minutes or several hours of exposure.

Benzene exposure to the skin, eyes, or lungs can result in irritation or tissue damage.

What Are Long-Term Effects of Benzene Exposure?

Long-term exposure may affect the production of bone marrow and red blood cells. Benzene has been shown to be a cancer causing agent and is recognized as a known carcinogen. There have been cases of leukemia that have been attributed to long-term benzene exposure. Benzene may also have adverse affects on reproductive organs.

If You Have Been Exposed To Benzene

You may want to consider seeking medical attention if you have been exposed to benzene over a long period of time. Medical professionals can run tests to measure the presence of benzene in your system. While the tests cannot predict what may happen in the future regarding your health, they can detect levels of benzene in your body.

Find ways to limit your exposure to the chemical. If you work with benzene, see if there are ways to replace benzene with other products. If that is not possible, wear protective equipment to reduce your chances of exposure. If you are a smoker, it is highly recommended that you cease smoking. Smoking has been identified as a major source of benzene exposure. In addition, if using chemicals that contain benzene, take proper cautions to avoid skin exposure and inhalation.

What Next?

In the event that you have been exposed to benzene for an extended period of time and are suffering from adverse effects of the chemical, you may want to seek legal advice. A lawyer who is knowledgeable about benzene exposure and effects of the chemical will evaluate your case and determine what your next steps should be. An attorney will review your information to determine whether or not you may have cause for a lawsuit and compensation.