Benzene is one of the most common and widely used hazardous chemicals around. This substance is found naturally occurring in the environment, so most people are exposed to Benzene to a limited degree. However, it is also very widely used by man in the production of many goods such as detergents, plastics, synthetic fibers, dyes, rubber, resins, paint, and a whole host of other things. It can also be found in fairly high levels in cigarette smoke, which many people breathe in either actively or passively each day. Benzene comes in the form of a clear liquid, which has a sweet, distinctive odor. Exposure to this chemical can result in a number of undesirable and even deadly effects. The Environmental Protection Agency has this chemical categorized as a Class A carcinogenic. It is thought that Benzene exposure is partly responsible for rising cases of leukaemia among those exposed to it.
The effects of Benzene exposure are largely dependant upon the levels and duration of exposure. Those that actually work with this chemical and exposed to it through the products they work with are, of course, one of the highest risk groups. Long term exposure is defined as one year or longer, so for those that have worked in this industry for a while the risks can be concerning. That said, the EPA has imposed regulations with regards to safety for such employees, and providing both the employer and employee are mindful of these safety regulations, the risks of Benzene exposure can be reduced dramatically.
Benzene exposure can result in a number of neurological symptoms including: dizziness, drowsiness, headaches, and loss of consciousness. Larger doses of this chemical can result in vomiting, dizziness, and convulsions, and can ultimately lead to death. Dermal exposure to this chemical can result in reddening and blistering of the skin, and exposure to vapor and liquid form can cause irritation to the eyes, skin, and can also result in respiratory problems. Acute toxicity levels can vary depending on the method of exposure which has been proven through animal testing. Tests have shown that ingestion and dermal exposure can result in moderate acute toxicity, whereas inhalation can result in low acute toxicity.
Longer term exposure to Benzene can result in haematological problems in humans, and can affect the tissue that is responsible for producing blood cells, known as the bone marrow. Some of the problems that can develop include excessive bleeding, immune system deficiencies, and aplastic anemia. Chromosomal problems can arise from chronic inhalation of Benzene, which can occur on a structural or numerical level. Benzene has been classed as a group A carcinogenic by the Environmental Protection Agency. Those exposed to Benzene regularly or in high doses, particularly those regularly exposed on an occupational basis, are at high risk of the cancerous effects of the chemical.
Some of the side effects of Benzene exposure include:
Reduced tolerance to exercise
Bone or joint pain
Infection and fever
Abdominal pain or discomfort
Enlarged spleen, lymph nodes, and liver
Anyone that has suffered the effects of Benzene exposure, or anyone who may have lost a loved one as a result of Benzene exposure, is advised to seek the help and services of a Benzene lawyer or attorney. Generally, the initial consultation is free, so even if you are unsure as to whether you have a claim, it could still be in your best interests to seek further advice in relation to this matter, and it won’t cost anything to find out.
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