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Benzene is a common chemical that is liquid at room temperature and evaporates very quickly. It’s present in emissions from volcanoes, forest fires, motor vehicles and gas stations. Although it’s most commonly produced industrially, it can also occur in nature. However, exposure to benzene can be harmful and is linked to certain blood cancers like leukemia.
Benzene is used to make other chemicals, lubricants, rubbers, dyes, detergents, drugs or pesticides. You can be exposed to benzene through outdoor or indoor air, water pollution, cigarette smoke or your workplace, if you work somewhere that makes or uses benzene. Its vapors are heavier than air and may sink and accumulate in low-lying areas.
Benzene attacks your body and causes cells to stop functioning correctly. This can lead to a variety of health problems, with the most severe problems stemming from long-term exposure of a year or more. Benzene causes cancer in humans and an irregular heartbeat, headaches, tremors, anemia or confusion when breathed. When ingested, it causes sleepiness, vomiting, convulsions and even death.
If you are exposed to benzene, you should change your clothes immediately, wash your entire body and get medical attention. Any clothing that has come into contact with benzene should be put in a plastic bag and then sealed inside another plastic bag.
If there has been a release of benzene in your area or workplace, quickly find out whether you should evacuate or shelter in place to avoid exposure.
Benzene poisoning should be treated in a hospital. There is no single remediation for benzene poisoning.
Prim Law Firm PLLC represents clients in cases involving personal injuries in West Virginia, and our clients owe no fees unless we are successful in recovering compensation on their behalf.