The Dangers of Benzene
Benzene is one of the 20 most widely used chemicals in the United States, and is classified as a Class A carcinogen by the EPA. It’s a colorless and sweet smelling chemical that evaporates quickly when exposed to air. Used in oil refineries, chemical plants and rubber factories, exposure to the chemical is linked to blood disorders like leukemia.
Benzene exposure is essentially unavoidable in everyday life. It’s in the air around gas stations, it’s a contaminant in tobacco smoke, it’s in motor vehicle exhaust, and it’s emitted from many industrial factories and even leaks from underground waste sites. In low levels, it’s not dangerous, but for those frequently exposed to high levels of benzene, there can be harmful consequences.
Symptoms of Exposure to Benzene
The most common exposure is inhalation, since benzene is found in outdoor and indoor air. People working in industries that use benzene have the highest exposure rate and are the most likely to develop a benzene-related illness. Look for these signs of exposure to high levels of benzene:
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- At very high levels of exposure, death can occur
If someone is exposed to benzene regularly for a year or more, benzene can have harmful effects on the bone marrow and decrease red blood cell counts. The Department of Health and Human Services has determined that long-term exposure to benzene can lead to deadly blood disorders like:
- Myelogenous leukemia
- Myelodysplastic syndrome
- Aplastic anemia
- Multiple myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
Someone who has experienced an illness from benzene exposure might be entitled to compensation from benzene manufacturers or their employer for failing to warn of the dangers of the chemical. Consult with an Arkansas benzene Lawyer to determine if you have a lawsuit.