Benzene is a clear, highly flammable liquid. It has a peculiar smell. Benzene is a natural byproduct in petroleum. It is an organic solvent used to manufacture other chemicals and plastics. It is also a product used in manufacturing some types of lubricants, detergents, pesticides and drugs. Benzene is often found in oil-based paints. It is also found in gasoline, kerosene and diesel fuel.
Benzene evaporates in the air very quickly. It also dissolves in water. It is highly flammable and is formed from both natural processes and in the refining of crude oil. Benzene in nature can be in the aftermath of a volcano or a forest fire. It is also a natural part of crude oil, gasoline, cigarette smoke and a variety of other industrial and consumer products.
Benzene is found in asphalt, charcoal lighter fluid, cigarette lighter fluid, contact cements, glues, kerosene, hydraulic fluids, ink, markers, paint thinner, rubber cement, film processing chemicals and pesticides.
In the work place, workers in many industries that produce or use benzene are at risk of being exposed to a carcinogen. Benzene is often related to cancer in humans and causes benzene-related cancer from breathing benzene vapors and exposure to the chemicals that have been linked to forms of leukemia and acute myelogenous leukemia (AML).
Many workers using or in environments where benzene is produced are at high risk of contracting a variety of cancer related illnesses. Those most susceptible to benzene exposure are those working in the petrochemicals, in the oil refining business and coke and coal chemical manufacturing, tire manufacturing, printing businesses and the transportation and storage of benzene in petroleum products.
The most harmful exposure to benzene takes place in the workplace. However, there are many other places where exposure by industrial discharge, disposal of products containing benzene and gasoline leaks from underground storage tanks that have released benzene into the soil and water creates an environmental and dangerous benzene exposure to many in the vicinity.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set out maximum permissible levels of benzene in drinking water at 0.005 milligrams per liter (0.005 mg/L). The EPA requires that businesses, public utilities and individuals who know that a spill or accidental release of benzene into the environment of 10 lbs. or more must be immediately reported to the EPA.
Even those who may be unaware, benzene is found in many household products. It can be found in glues, cleaning products, detergents, art supplies, paint stripper and many other household products. Benzene has also recently been reported to exist in some form in soda and other soft drinks. The requirement that dangerous chemicals such as benzene be listed in consumer products sometimes is limited because companies claim “trade secret.” That would allow companies to receive a pass on labeling their products containing benzene. This is a serious risk to consumers.
The side effects of benzene exposure are deadly. In addition to AML, it has been known that benzene exposure causes other forms of leukemia, anemia, thrombocytopenic purpura and forms of cancer.
For additional information on benzene containing products, see the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Cancer Society – benzene websites.
In the workplace, benzene exposure causes thousands of American workers grave illnesses and death. Benzene as it turns out is one of the most widely used industrial products. In those who are exposed to high levels of benzene, they are at an increased risk of developing benzene poisoning, whose symptoms include dizziness, tremors, confusion and loss of consciousness. In cases of benzene exposure, it is vitally important that the individual be removed from that area as quickly as possible and that medical attention be given.
If you or someone you know has been exposed to and has become ill from exposure to the toxic chemical benzene, please contact experienced attorneys at Kreisman Law Offices. We have been handling toxic tort litigation matters for more than 40 years.
If you or a loved one has been exposed to benzene and have developed illnesses ranging from leukemia to other blood related diseases, do not hesitate to contact us. You may be entitled to compensation and we will assist you in every way possible by investigating the cause of the illness or disease.
With our years of experience in trying and settling toxic tort cases, Kreisman Law Offices provides the best possible services to our clients. Our service is unmatched. Please call us 24 hours a day at 312.346.0045 or toll free 800.583.8002 for a free and immediate consultation, or complete a contact form online. There is no charge for a consultation that will include an evaluation of your case.