Benzene is a colorless gas that has a slight sweet smell. It is widely used in a variety of products, of which include solvents, detergents, paint, and many more. Benzene can also be found in cigarette smoke and within the petroleum industry.
Many people are exposed to Benzene in some form or another every day. The impact of this chemical can be deadly for those who are exposed to it for long periods of time or in high levels. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified Benzene as a Class A Carcinogenic. Although this chemical occurs naturally in the environment, the major threat comes from Benzene used in manmade products.
There are a number of sources of Benzene exposure. Those at greatest risk of exposure are people who work with the chemical. This includes chemical workers, refinery workers, rubber workers, printers, leather workers, press workers, painters, and gasoline distributors.
Benzene is known to be responsible for a number of health disorders, and is linked to various types of leukemia and other illnesses. In addition to respiratory problems, skin problems, and blood disorders, the cancers linked to benzene exposure include:
- Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML)
- Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL)
- Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML)
- Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)
- Hairy Cell Leukemia (HCL)
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL)
- Hodgkin’s Disease
- Multiple Myeloma
- Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS).
SYMPTOMS OF BENZENE EXPOSURE
The symptoms of benzene exposure can differ, and the time it takes for these symptoms to develop also varies. Some reactions to Benzene can be instant, while other symptoms may not show for several decades following exposure.
One of the problems associated with the symptoms of Benzene exposure is that they are not specific and can often resemble the flu. You may experience fatigue, weakness, weight loss, abdominal swelling and pain, or swollen glands. You may also experience abnormal bleeding and excessive bruising.
Due to the dangers and unclear symptoms of benzene exposure, it is important to contact your family doctor if you are concerned. Even if you do not have any symptoms, advising your doctor of any type of exposure, can save time and will help properly diagnose any signs of illness in the future.
Some of the effects, both chronic and acute, are as follows:
Benzene exposure can cause neurological symptoms, which include dizziness, drowsiness, headaches, and loss of consciousness. Large doses of Benzene can result in vomiting, dizziness, convulsions, and can lead to death.Skin exposure can result in reddening and blistering of the skin, and exposure to vapor and liquid form can cause irritation to the eyes, skin, and can also result in respiratory problems. Acute levels of toxins can vary depending on the type of exposure.
Those exposed to Benzene regularly or in high doses are at risk of developing cancer. Benzene is linked with an increased risk of leukemia, and some of the cancers associated with this chemical include: acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), hairy cell leukemia (HCL), non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), Hodgkin’s disease, multiple myeloma, myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS).
Long-term exposure to Benzene can cause blood disorders and can affect the tissue that is responsible for producing blood cells, known as the bone marrow. Some of the problems that can develop include excessive bleeding, immune system deficiencies, and aplastic anemia.
Benzene is also related to a number of other illnesses. For example, women exposed to Benzene have been found to suffer a decrease in the size of the ovaries as well as menstrual problems.
Some of the side effects of Benzene exposure include: fatigue; body ache; abnormal bleeding; excessive bruising; weakness; reduced tolerance to exercise; weight loss; bone or joint pain; infection and fever; abdominal pain or discomfort; enlarged spleen, lymph nodes, and liver