The most common ways for individuals to become exposed to benzene is through occupational and environmental sources. Exposure to benzene is typically harmful when individuals are exposed to high levels of the chemical or remain exposed to the chemical for long periods of time.
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Harmful short-term exposure to benzene typically occurs in one of three ways. Either the individual has breathed in high concentrations of benzene, high levels of benzene have been absorbed through the skin, or benzene has contaminated food that the individual has eaten. Taking benzene into the lungs through breathing can result in dizziness, drowsiness, headaches, confusion, rapid heart rate, and unconsciousness. In the individual is not removed from the affected area within a short period of time, they may die from the benzene exposure. If benzene comes into contact with the skin or eyes of an individual, the chemical may cause tissue irritation and damage. If the skin or eyes come into direct contact with benzene, the individual must flush their eyes and wash the chemical off of their skin as soon as possible to avoid further damage.
Food contamination with benzene is a rare occurrence. Individuals that have ingested food or water contaminated with benzene may experience nausea, vomiting, stomach irritation, abdominal pain, convulsions, and death. The vomiting caused by the ingestion of food contaminated with benzene is especially dangerous as it can flow into the lungs causing breathing difficulties and uncontrollable coughing. The symptoms associated with short-term benzene poisoning will typically manifest within a few minutes to a few hours depending on the level of benzene affecting the individual. The amount the poisoning will affect the individual depends on the amount of benzene present, the length of time the individual is exposed, and the general health of the individual affected.
The side effects and complications associated with long-term exposure to benzene are even more numerous. The major complications of long-term benzene exposure primarily affect the blood, damaging the bone marrow and inhibiting the production of red blood cells. This can result in anemia or the development of leukemia. The loss of white blood cells and antibodies can change the typical balance of the blood causing even more issues. Long-term benzene exposure also suppresses the immune system, lowering the body’s ability to fight off infection.
The Department of Health and Human Services has classified benzene as a known human carcinogen and the chemical has been associated with the development of a number of different cancers. Benzene exposures of less than 5 years to nearly 30 years have been associated with a large number of leukemia cases, some of them fatal. Precautions must be taken by individuals that come into contact with benzene through industrial and environmental means to limit their exposure and reduce the risk of developing potentially deadly side effects and complications.
Do I have a Benzene Lawsuit?
The Toxic Tort Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus exclusively on the representation of plaintiffs in Benzene lawsuits. We are handling individual and group litigation nationwide and currently accepting new Benzene cases in all 50 states.
If you or a loved one have been exposed to Benzene and developed a form of leukemia or other blood related disease, you should contact us immediately. You may be entitled to compensation and we can help.