Benzene Exposure: What It Is and What It Does

Many Workplace Environments Use Benzene

Benzene is a solvent used in a variety of industrial operations. It is a naturally occurring chemical found in wild fires, volcanic eruptions, and other similar processes. Benzene is one of the most widely used chemicals in the United States.

Benzene is used in processes of making several materials, including:

  • Cleaning products
  • Dyes
  • Gasoline
  • Ink
  • Lubricants
  • Paint
  • Rubber

Though it is used in so many operations, benzene is a known carcinogen. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) ranked benzene as the 6th most hazardous substance in 2011. In the workplace, individuals may be exposed to large quantities of benzene at a given time. Recognizing exposure to benzene and taking steps to prevent it may help you in avoiding dangerous situations.

You May Be Exposed at Work or at Home

Certain environments are likely to create benzene exposure, such as:

  • Power plants
  • Railroads
  • Chemical plants
  • Refineries

Even firefighters and mechanics may encounter benzene exposure on the job. In the community, cigarette smoking and second-hand smoking are also major sources of exposure. In most cases, exposure to benzene occurs through inhalation and absorption.

The Effects of Dangerous Benzene Exposure

Exposure to benzene has several short-term symptoms and effects, including:

  • Drowsiness and dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors/convulsions
  • Irritation to skin/eyes/throat

The long-term effects of benzene exposure are much more severe. Studies performed on workers and others exposed to high levels of benzene have found higher rates of leukemia and other blood-related cancers. Damage to bone marrow may result in anemia and low white blood cell count, which can be life-threatening. In some cases, exposure may even harm reproductive organs.

Take Steps to Protect Your Future

Because benzene is a known carcinogen, several government agencies regulate benzene levels and exposure in the workplace and other environments. However, regulation does not guarantee your safety. Exposure to dangerous levels of benzene can still occur. If you have suffered damages from benzene exposure, you should seek the compensation you need for your recovery.

Hartley Law Group, PLLC has recovered millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for our clients in personal injury cases. Our years of experience with toxic tort claims allow us to bring considerable knowledge and resources to many legal issues, including those involving negligent exposure to hazardous chemicals. Our West Virginia personal injury attorneys have more than 30 years of legal experience to help you move your case toward a positive solution.

Schedule a free case evaluation with our firm today!

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