Benzene - What is it?

Benzene is a colorless, flammable liquid with a sweet odor. It evaporates quickly when exposed to air. Benzene is formed from natural processes, such as volcanoes and forest fires, but most exposure to benzene results from human activities.

Benzene is among the 20 most widely used chemicals in the United States. It is a known carcinogen and can cause cancer and other blood disorders. 

 

Benzene - Where is it found?

Benzene is commonly found in cements, cleaning products, detergents, adhesives, glues. asphalts, calibrating fluid, charcoal lighter fluid, cigarette lighter fluid, gasoline, glues, kerosene, hydraulic fluids, inks and ink markers, lacquer thinner, pesticides, processing film, rubber cement, solvents, and vinyl thinner.

Benzene is also a natural part of crude oil, gasoline, and cigarette smoke, and a component or contaminant in numerous industrial and consumer products.

 

Benzene - Who is at risk?

Workplace exposures

There are several industries in New Jersey and around the country that use benzene in some form. While recent regulations have been aimed at reducing the use of benzene, it is still unfortunately being utilized. 

The effects of benzene exposure can take several years to manifest. As a result, people developing symptoms today could have been exposed while working years ago. This is why it is critical that you contact a benzene lawyer as soon as possible so we can discuss your circumstances to see if compensation is possible for you.

The following are some of the workers that are at a higher risk to suffer from benzene exposure:

  • Painters and makers of paint products
  • Chemical workers
  • Shoe/leather workers
  • Refinery workers
  • Agricultural chemical production workers
  • Pesticide production workers
  • Workers exposed to high levels of motor vehicle exhaust
  • Steel workers
  • Rubber workers
  • Printers
  • Waste Management
  • Lab Technicians
  • Pulp manufacturing workers
  • Adhesive production workers
  • Newspaper press workers
  • Pharmaceutical production workers
  • Cleaning product production workers

Other sources of exposure

People can be exposed to benzene in the environment from gasoline fumes, automobile exhaust, emissions from some factories, and waste water from certain industries.

Benzene is commonly found in air in both urban and rural areas, but this is usually at low levels. Exposure levels can be higher for those people in enclosed spaces with unventilated fumes from gasoline, glues, solvents, paints, and art supplies. Areas of heavy traffic, gas stations, and areas near industrial sources may also have higher air levels. 

Cigarette smoking and secondhand smoke are important sources of exposure to benzene. Cigarette smoke accounts for about half of the exposure to benzene in the United States. Benzene levels in rooms containing tobacco smoke can be many times higher than normal.

People can also be exposed to benzene in contaminated drinking water and some foods, although the levels are usually very low. (cancer.org)

 

Benzene - What are the health risks?

Benzene is a known carcinogen. Breathing benzene vapors may cause immediate death and long-term exposure to high levels of benzene has been tied to cancer, most frequently leukemia.  

Studies have also shown a link to various menstrual issues in women and birth defects in their children.

Benzene exposure has been linked to the following:

  • Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML)
  • Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)
  • Childhood Leukemia
  • Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
  • Myelofibrosis and Myeloid Metaplasia
  • Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS)
  • Aplastic Anemia
  • Acute Lymphocytic (or Lymphoblastic) Leukemia (ALL)
  • Multiple Myeloma 
  • Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML)

 

Contact a Benzene Exposure Lawyer Today

If you think that you or a loved one has been exposed to Benzene and has developed a form of leukemia or another benzene-related disease, you should contact us immediately. Please call us at 908-352-2323 or use our contact form here.

A lawyer highly experienced in handling cases involving benzene will meet with you and help determine whether you might be entitled to compensation. Contact us today to discuss your case with a New Jersey benzene exposure lawyer.

 

 

Sources:

American Cancer Society - www.cancer.org

Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) - www.osha.gov

World Health Organization - www.who.int/en

 

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