Have You Been Injured? We're Ready to Fight for You.

Benzene Exposure Can be Dangerous

Published on May 19, 2014 at 8:35 am in Work Injury.

How dangerous is Benzene? Benzene is a chemical that occurs naturally and is also used in manufacturing processes. It occurs naturally in forest fires, crude oil, gasoline, and cigarette smoke. Industrial uses for benzene include plastics, resins, and synthetic fibers.

Studies on benzene exposure

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has declared that benzene causes cancer in humans. Long-term exposure (defined as exposure for one year or more) can cause leukemia, which is a cancer of the blood-forming organs. Studies have shown that workers exposed to high levels of benzene have higher rates of leukemia, and especially acute myeloid leukemia. Studies have also shown a connection between benzene exposure and acute lymphocytic leukemia in children, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, apalstic anemia, and other blood-related cancers.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the primary way that long-term exposure damages the body is through the blood. It damages the bone marrow, can affect the immune system and increase the chances for infection. The damage done by benzene will depend on “the amount, route, and length of time of exposure, as well as the age and preexisting medical condition of the exposed person.”

Common methods of benzene exposure

  • Outdoor air contains relatively low levels of benzene. This is mostly due to cigarette smoke, gas stations, car exhaust, and industrial emissions.
  • Indoor air can contain higher levels of benzene, mostly coming from paint, glue, furniture wax, or detergents; a major source of exposure to the chemical is from tobacco smoke.
  • Hazardous waste sites and gas stations create concentrated exposures for those who work there.
  • Well water can be contaminated with benzene from underwater tanks at hazardous waste sites.
  • Workers in industries that use benzene in production may be exposed to higher levels.

Benzene evaporates quickly into the air, but the vapor is heavier than air so it may sink into lower-lying areas. It doesn’t dissolve well into water, and can float on top of water.

Is there a treatment for benzene exposure?

There is no antidote for benzene exposure. The medical treatment now for benzene poisoning is only supportive medical care. The CDC cautions that for persons who might have been exposed, the most important thing is to get treated as soon as possible.

Meet Your Team

Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

Free Case Evaluation

At Thomas Law Offices, our personal injury attorneys recognize that our potential clients are likely going through some of the most difficult times of their lives. We don't want you to have to worry about paying out-of-pocket for legal advice when you're just starting to learn your legal rights and options. That's why we provide free case evaluations. We'll offer our expert advice about your potential case and walk you through how we can help you.

Call us or fill out the form below to tell us about your potential case and a personal injury lawyer will get back to you as quickly as possible.

Legal & Firm News

What You Need to Know About Business Litigation and Contingency Fees

If your business has ever been involved in a legal matter, you may be surprised to hear the two phrases together: business litigation and contingency fees. Traditionally, it has been more common to associate a contingency fee model with personal injury law involving individual parties rather than businesses. But this is no longer always the […]

Read More

Signs of PTSD in Military Service Members

It’s estimated that up to one-third of military service members suffer from PTSD. PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder, is a mental health condition that can develop following a traumatic event. This usually means an event involving actual or threatened death, serious injury, or abuse. People who have seen combat, witnessed death, or experienced a life-threatening situation […]

Read More

AAA Conducts Study Examining Travel Before and During COVID-19

In 2021, new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s New American Driving Survey revealed shifts in driving, traveling, and commuting patterns in the United States. The statistics gathered between July 2019 and December 2020 cannot be analyzed without consideration of COVID-19’s unignorable impact on the numbers—numbers showing marked differences from previous years’ findings.

Read More