Benzene is a highly toxic substance that can cause serious illness or death. In the past, it was used in many common household products, including aftershave and decaffeinated coffee. However, after researchers found that benzene causes cancer, its use became regulated in the United States. The use of benzene in consumer products, industrial solvents, and fuel additives is now extremely restricted. The amount of benzene in drinking water has also been limited.
Benzene is still used in industry, but it is now regulated. Workers are not supposed to be exposed to more than one part benzene per million parts air. Unfortunately, even a concentration of one part of benzene per million can be dangerous when workers are exposed to that amount over a long period of time. Leukemia and other diseases are still a risk for people who work around benzene.
Benzene is a chemical substance that occurs naturally in crude oil and gasoline. Forest fires and volcanoes also create benzene. However, most exposure to benzene doesn’t occur in nature but as the result of human activities.
Benzene is very common. It is one of the top 20 most commonly used chemicals in the U.S.
Although benzene has been restricted from being used in consumer products, it is still used in industrial processes to make products such as plastic, nylon, glue, drugs, rubber, detergent, lubricant, dye, and pesticides. People who work in industries that make or use these products can be exposed to benzene, including workers in chemical plants, shoemaking factories, and oil refineries.
Because benzene is found naturally in gasoline, it is also present in vehicle exhaust and gasoline fumes. Benzene is also found in cigarette smoke.
Yes. Cigarette smoke is a major cause of benzene exposure. In fact, about half of all benzene exposure in the U.S. comes when a person inhales cigarette smoke, either as a smoker or as someone exposed to second-hand smoke.
You can also be exposed to benzene if you use products such as paint, art supplies, furniture wax, and glue at home or in other settings, especially if you use them in poorly ventilated areas. You can be exposed if you inhale vehicle exhaust or gasoline fumes, especially in areas where those fumes are more concentrated, such as in gas stations or while you are near or driving in heavy traffic. Also, if you are near a factory, you might be exposed to benzene in the factory’s wastewater and emissions. Well water can be contaminated by leaky underground storage tanks.
The most common way that people get exposed to benzene is by inhaling it when benzene is present in the air. Benzene can also enter the body if you swallow something containing it, or if you touch something that contains it and the benzene gets absorbed into your skin.
There is no safe level of exposure to benzene. Even a small amount can be harmful. In addition, the damage builds up over time.
Benzene can damage bone marrow, blood cells, and the immune system.
If you or a loved one have been exposed to benzene and have been harmed by that exposure, you may be able to file a lawsuit. You may get compensation for the medical costs, lost income, and pain and suffering that you are dealing with now, as well as for costs and expenses that you can project may occur in the future. If you were exposed to a benzene-containing product, you may be able to sue the manufacturer if the product or its design was defective. If you were exposed to benzene at work, you may be able to sue a person or company that was negligent. In some situations, you may be able to sue your employer.
Proving that you were harmed by benzene exposure, especially when that exposure took place over a period of years, requires special knowledge and skill in the applicable areas of both law and science. So does discovering and proving what company or person was negligent or otherwise responsible for your exposure. You should consult an experienced benzene exposure attorney for help.
If you think you or a loved one may have gotten ill from exposure to benzene, we urge you to talk to us to find out more about what you can do. Our law firm has been recognized locally and nationally for the excellence of our attorneys, who have appeared on many “best lawyers” lists. Even more important is our commitment to every one of our clients. We care about our clients and are dedicated to seeing them get the justice they deserve.
Call us at 1-800-535-1797 or contact us on our website to schedule a consultation. We would be glad to answer your questions, evaluate your case, and discuss with you what your options are and what steps you can take next.
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