Health Hazards Associated with Benzene

The chemical, benzene, is a light yellow or colorless liquid (at room temperature), that is highly flammable and has a sweet odor. While the natural sources of benzene include forest fires and volcanoes, it can also be released into the air through cigarette smoke, crude oil and gasoline.

What Happens When You Are Exposed to Benzene?

If you breathe high levels of benzene, you may show the symptoms and signs listed below within a few minutes or several hours:

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Confusion and Tremors
  • Irregular or rapid heartbeat
  • Unconsciousness
  • Death (if the level is very high)

In case you consume drinks or foods that contain high benzene levels, you may develop the following symptoms (few minutes-several hours):

  • Convulsions
  • Dizziness
  • Sleepiness
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach irritation
  • Irregular or rapid heartbeat
  • Death (if the level is very high)

Even if you vomit after consuming drinks or foods with high benzene levels, the vomit can get sucked into your lungs, causing you coughing and breathing problem.

The Long-term Effects:

Long-term exposure to benzene (for over a year) mainly affects blood. Some health hazards occurring due to long-term effects of benzene include:

  • Anemia– Benzene affects the bone marrow, causing a decrease in the red blood cell count. This leads to anemia in humans. It may also lead to excessive bleeding, lowering your body’s immune system.
  • Menstrual Problem– There are cases of women having irregular menstrual periods as well as decreased ovary size due to benzene.
  • Cancer– Breathing in benzene for a long time can also lead to leukemia or blood cancer.

If you are working in an environment where benzene levels are high, you should opt for a specialist consulting company that deals with Occupational Health & Safety and Environmental monitoring solutions so that you can avail effective impartial health and safety compliance services.