5 Things to Know About Benzene Exposure

May 24, 2019

5 Things to Know About Benzene Exposure

..and what to do when you are experiencing symptoms.

Since the ITC fire event, the fears of Benzene Levels from the fire affecting our community’s health have grown.  Deer Park, Pasadena, LaPorte, Baytown, and Galena Park issued Shelter In Place for extended periods of time. Community Health 1st has the facilities to access your healthcare related worries.

benzene exposure

What is Benzene?

Benzene is a colorless, flammable liquid with a sweet odor. It evaporates quickly when exposed to air. Benzene is formed from natural processes, such as volcanoes and forest fires, but most exposure to benzene results from human activities. Benzene is among the 20 most widely used chemicals in the United States.  Benzene is a natural constituent of crude oil and is one of the elementary petrochemicals.

What is Benzene Found in?

Benzene is a widely used industrial chemical. Benzene is found in crude oil and is a major part of gasoline. It’s used to make plastics, resins, synthetic fibers, rubber lubricants, dyes, detergents, drugs, and pesticides. Benzene is produced naturally by volcanoes and forest fires.

Benzene can also be found in:

  • Paint, lacquer, and varnish removers.
  • Industrial Solvents.
  • Gasoline and other fuels.
  • Glues.
  • Paints.
  • Furniture Wax.
  • Detergents.
  • Thinners.

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Is Benzene toxic to humans?

The Department of Health and Human Services has determined that benzene is a known carcinogen (can cause cancer). Both the International Agency for Cancer Research and the EPA have determined that benzene is carcinogenic to humans. Exposure to benzene may be harmful to the reproductive organs.  It can also severely impairs the respiratory system.

Some industries use benzene to make other chemicals which are used to make plastics, resins, and nylon and synthetic fibers. Benzene is also used to make some types of rubbers, lubricants, dyes, detergents, drugs, and pesticides. … Benzene is also a natural part of crude oil, gasoline, and cigarette smoke. Hodgkin’s Disease, leukemia, and lymphoma – diseases linked to exposure to benzene, which is a known carcinogen.

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The news of exposure has dominated headlines and airwaves for the last week.

What are the symptoms of Benzene over-exposure?

People who breathe in high levels of benzene may develop the following signs and symptoms within minutes to several hours:

  • Drowsiness.
  • Dizziness.
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat.
  • Headaches.
  • Tremors.
  • Confusion.
  • Unconsciousness.
  • Death (at very high levels)
  • Direct exposure of the eyes, skin, or lungs to benzene can cause tissue injury and irritation.

How do I find out if I’ve been exposed to Benzene?

Community Health 1st has the appropriate testing for Benzene exposure.  Our biomonitoring service will analyze urine samples, and in some cases, blood samples, to determine toxic levels of benzene in a patient’s system.  The test results can take anywhere from 4 to 7 days for definitive findings.

If you or your loved ones are concerned that they have been exposed, please contact us at 346-954-6007, or find us at 1101 East Blvd in 77536.

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