Benzene (also known as benzol) is a chemical that is extremely harmful to human health and vitality, yet it is found in many consumer products and in many workplaces. Too much exposure to benzene can lead to a host of serious health conditions, as well as death. If you have been exposed to an unhealthy amount of benzene, either in your workplace or through the use of a product that contains it, you may be able to file a lawsuit to claim damages for the impact on your health and your ability to work.
Lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm are prepared to help people in the Philadelphia area get the compensation they deserve for an injury (or the death of someone they know) caused by excessive exposure to benzene. To learn more about how you can claim damages for benzene exposure, get in touch with us by either calling (215) 650-3913 or visiting our website as soon as possible.
Benzene Exposure Is Dangerous for Your Health
What is benzene? Benzene is a liquid that is characterized by being colorless, extremely flammable, and carrying a sweet smell. It evaporates quickly if it’s exposed to air at room temperature.
Benzene is frequently used in many production processes found in manufacturing plants and factories and oil companies. It is present in many items that consumers use every day, including lubricants, pesticides, dyes, detergents, cleaning products, paint strippers, furniture waxes, adhesives, glues, and drugs, and it is used to make plastics, resins, nylons, rubbers, and synthetic fibers. Extracting oils from nuts and seeds requires benzene. It occurs in nature during volcanic eruptions and forest fires; it also emerges during the process of fracking, as well as in cigarette smoke and vehicle exhaust.
Since it is so potent and easily found in everyday life, its use in workplaces is highly regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Benzene is classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a known human carcinogen.
How Humans Come into Contact with Benzene
There are three primary ways that people may come into contact with benzene: in the environment, at work, and at home.
While benzene is a liquid, its vapor can be found at high levels in the air. Benzene is found in the air due to emissions from coal and oil being burnt, exhaust from motor vehicles, evaporation from gas stations, and secondhand tobacco smoke. After it reaches the air, it does break down after a few days, after reacting with other chemicals in the air. However, it can enter soil after having been dumped on the ground by rain or snow.
Benzene exposure can occur in homes due to its presence in household products. Smoking inside homes can raise benzene levels significantly. Benzene can also be found in water. It is slightly soluble in water. It is dangerous for humans to drink water that has benzene in it, or to consume foods that has been contaminated by the water.
People may also come into contact with benzene in their workplaces. Workers in certain industries are especially susceptible to benzene exposure. These include the steel industry, the rubber industry, and the shoe production industry, as well as employees of gas stations, firefighting companies, and laboratories.
Injuries That Can Be Caused by Benzene Exposure
Injuries caused by benzene exposure can have severe effects in both the short and long term. It enters the body by being absorbed into the cell lining and is damaging in that it prevents cells from working correctly. It should be noted that alcohol enhances the negative effects of benzene.
Short-term effects of benzene exposure may include dizziness, loss of consciousness, sleepiness, vomiting, irregular heartbeat, stomach irritation, and convulsions and tremors. Benzene exposure can also cause irritation to the skin, eyes, and respiratory tract.
Long-term effects of benzene exposure include cancer (especially leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma), anemia, immune system suppression, excessive bleeding, and fertility problems in both men and women. The treatments and side effects that these illnesses entail can be just as severe as the conditions themselves. Many of these conditions require chemotherapy, radiation, surgeries, and other invasive medical treatments. Dealing with these issues is a lot to handle: benzene exposure victims require numerous surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, medications, and other forms of medical treatment.
How to Know If You Have a Lawsuit After Contact with Benzene
If you are suffering from health problems due to benzene exposure in your workplace, you may be able to file a lawsuit. If your workplace required you to work under unsafe conditions or did not provide proper protective gear, they may be required to compensate you for the costs related to your ailment.
You can recover the costs of medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If one of your loved ones has died due to a benzene-related health condition, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer Available for Consultations
The lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm are available to help you get compensation for your benzene injury or death of a family member. Get in touch with us to schedule a free consultation by calling (215) 709-6940 or visiting our website.