How are Most People Exposed to Benzene in the U.S.?
Posted on Apr 9, 2013 10:57am PDT
Benzene is one of the 20 most widely used chemicals in the United States, as it is commonly used as a solvent or intermediate in the production of other compounds. It is colorless and flammable, and can be found in various household products like paint, glue, dye, gasoline and cigarettes. The main route of exposure is through inhalation or absorption through the skin, but this chemical may not necessarily lead to serious health complications unless the individual is exposed to unhealthy doses over a prolonged period of time. According to the workplace regulations that have been set out by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA), permissible levels would be 1 part per million over the course of a standard workday, or eight hours, and 5 parts per million for every 15 minutes.
Although it is has been reported that nearly 50% of all benzene-related cases can be attributed to cigarette smoke—including first-hand and second-hand inhalation—a substantial number of cases have resulted from instances of product liability and unsafe work conditions. Benzene can be particularly dangerous when an individual is subjected to unhealthy levels in an enclosed space. Since this chemical is commonly found in the rubber industry, oil refineries, shoe manufacturers, chemical plants and factories that produce various lubricants, pesticides, drugs and detergents, it is safe to say that an immense number of people have been exposed to benzene on a regular basis. In those who have been affected, serious short-term and long-term health complications have been reported.
Short-term health risks can include drowsiness, convulsions, rapid heart rate, unconsciousness, irritation to the eyes and throat, headaches, etc. In some cases, ingesting high levels of Benzene can even result in immediate death. When examining cases of prolonged exposure, however, it is not uncommon for the affected individual to experience damage to their reproductive organs and bone marrow, as well as the subsequent development of blood-related cancers like acute myelogenous leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma or multiple myeloma. This can result in costly medical expenses, time away from work and inevitable pain and suffering, so it is important that you initiate prompt legal action if you or someone you love has been negligently exposed to benzene.
With the help of a Columbia personal injury lawyer from the Sumner Law Group, LLC, you can get started on recovering the compensation that you deserve—whether you were exposed through a defective product or unsafe work environment. All you need to do is pick up the phone and contact our firm at (866) 734-7829 to get started. You can also reach us online by submitting a
free case evaluation form directly from our website.