Benzene Sources: Where It Can Be Found

Benzene is a carcinogenic substance that is present in a great number of modern products and industries. It is formed through both natural processes and human activities, but importantly, high level of exposure to benzene can be quite dangerous. Long-term exposure to high levels of benzene has been tied to the development of leukemia and other cancers, as well as various menstrual issues in women and birth defects in their children.  

Because of the dangerousness of the substance, various state departments, including the EPA, DHHS, and OSHA, regulate the presence of benzene in a variety of contexts. There are short-term and long-term exposure limits for benzene in the workplace, maximum acceptable benzene concentrations in drinking water, and exposure limits for benzene that include recommendations for specialized breathing equipment around higher levels of the compound.

The dangers of benzene mean that you should be alert to the possibility of exposure beyond acceptable levels. Certainly, over-exposure to benzene in any setting might generate a legal claim against the institution or person that caused the exposure. If you believe that you have been exposed to benzene beyond acceptable limits, please consider speaking with a qualified personal injury attorney to help determine the strength of your claim.

The following is a list of processes, products, activities, occupations, industries, and places wherein benzene can be found:

Natural Processes That Produce Benzene

  • Volcanoes
  • Forest fires

Products Containing Benzene

  • Paint, lacquer, and varnish removers
  • Industrial solvents
  • Gasoline and other fuels
  • Glues
  • Paints
  • Furniture wax
  • Detergents
  • Thinners
  • Inks
  • Adhesives and coatings
  • Rubbers
  • Industrial cleaning and degreasing formulations

Activities/Uses Involving Benzene

  • Emissions motor vehicle exhaust
  • Burning coal and oil
  • Painting and lithography
  • Dry cleaning
  • Making chemicals used to make:
    • Plastics
    • Resins
    • Nylon and synthetic fibers
  • Making some types of:
    • Lubricants
    • Rubbers
    • Dyes
    • Detergents
    • Pharmaceutical drugs
    • Agricultural chemicals (pesticides)

Industries Using Benzene

  • Petrochemical manufacturing
  • Petroleum refining
  • Coke and coal chemical manufacturing
  • Rubber tire manufacturing
  • Gasoline storage, shipment, and retail operations
  • Plastics and rubber manufacturing
  • Shoe manufacturing

Occupations/People Who May Be Exposed To Benzene

  • Steel workers
  • Printers
  • Rubber workers
  • Shoe makers
  • Laboratory technicians
  • Gasoline service station employees

Places Where Benzene May Be Found

  • Air around waste sites and gas service stations
  • Contaminated well water, as a result of benzene leaks from underground storage tanks or hazardous waste sites containing benzene

Benzene overexposure is linked to the development of the following symptoms: drowsiness, dizziness, rapid or irregular heartbeat, headaches, tremors, confusion, and unconsciousness. If you’ve experienced these symptoms following exposure to benzene in any of the above listed contexts, contact your doctor or go directly to a medical facility for testing. 

Medical professionals use several tests to determine whether you’ve been overexposed to benzene, each of which measures benzene levels in your blood, breath, or urine. All three tests – urine, blood, and breath – must be performed shortly after exposure, or else benzene levels may not be accurately indicated by the tests. In urine, benzene detection involves measurement of benzene metabolites (end products of benzene), some of which can be measured, but this is not a fully accurate test since there can be numerous other reasons for the presence of similar metabolites in urine. 

Have an Attorney Review Your Toxic Torts Claim at No Charge

In general, if you suspect that you may have been overexposed, you should act quickly to ensure an accurate reading. It is absolutely critical that you do not delay. If you have been injured, it's in your best interests to speak with a toxic torts lawyer. In fact, you can get started today with a free claim evaluation.

Next Steps

Contact a qualified product liability attorney to make sure your rights are protected.

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