Benzene is colorless liquid with a characteristic odor and burning taste that is one of the most commonly used solvents in the United States. Benzene is used as an additive in gasoline and an ingredient in paints, inks, adhesives, rubbers, glues, old spot removers, and furniture wax. Benzene is also used to make some types of plastics, glues, rubbers, lubricants, dyes, detergents, drugs, and pesticides. It is also natural component of cigarette smoke. Benzene ranks in the top 20 chemicals for production volume in the United States.
However, Benzene is a known human carcinogen. Long-term exposure to high levels of benzene in the air can cause leukemia, cancer of the blood-forming organs. There are several ways to be exposed to unhealthy levels of benzene. Workers in industries that make or use benzene may be exposed to the highest levels of Benzene and are at the highest level of risk.
You can also be exposed to dangerous levels of the solvent from indoor air that contains benzene from products that contain it such as glues, paints, furniture wax, and detergents. Air around hazardous waste sites or gas stations will contain higher levels of benzene. Leakage from underground storage tanks or from hazardous waste sites containing benzene can result in benzene contamination of well water. Another major source of benzene exposure is cigarette smoke.
Industrial processes are the main source of benzene in the environment. Benzene can pass into the air from water and soil. It reacts with other chemicals in the air and breaks down within a few days. Benzene in the air can attach to rain or snow and be carried back down to the ground. It breaks down more slowly in water and soil, and can pass through the soil into underground water.
If you believe that you have been exposed to benzene you should report your suspicions to your employer and be tested. Several tests can measure your exposure to benzene. There is a test for measuring benzene in the breath that must be done shortly after exposure. Benzene can also be measured in the blood. However, benzene disappears rapidly from the blood and test results are only accurate if the test is performed after recent exposure.
Legal Help For Victims Affected By Benzene
If you or a loved one suffered side effects from benzene exposure, please fill out the form at the right for a free case evaluation by a qualified pollutants attorney or call us at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).