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The Effects of Benzene on Workers’ Health

senior woman with migraine sitting on carpet and touching forehead with hand

California workers face hazards in the workplace every day. They face the risk of slip and falls, exposure to pathogens such as the novel coronavirus, vehicle accidents, and injuries caused by heavy machinery. In some industries, workers are unwittingly exposed to even more insidious dangers.

Many California workers have been unknowingly exposed to a dangerous chemical known as benzene.
Benzene is an extremely hazardous chemical that has been linked to an increased risk of cancer and other serious conditions. California employees who suffer from benzene poisoning and other related conditions are entitled to collect workers’ compensation.

A zealous California workers’ compensation attorney can help you collect the benefits you are owed and ensure that you are not left paying for your medical bills, disability, and other damages out of pocket.

What is Benzene?

Benzene is a chemical component that is derived from coal and petroleum. It is a colorless chemical widely used across the country, especially in industries that use benzene to make other chemicals used in plastics, resins, synthetic fibers, nylon, dyes, and detergents. Most petroleum products such as gasoline and industrial solvents contain benzene.

Exposure to benzene happens mainly through inhalation, typically from vehicle exhaust or during the processing of petroleum products. Many workers are exposed to benzene due to its presence in industrial solvents as well as gasoline and heating oils. Benzene is also present in tobacco products, and exposure can occur through inhalation of cigarette smoke.

The Dangers of Benzene Exposure

Benzene is a dangerous chemical that can cause a number of unpleasant side effects. Even acute exposure can cause symptoms including:

  • Narcosis
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Tremors
  • Unconsciousness
  • Eye irritation
  • Skin rash

Chronic exposure to benzene carries even more serious risks. If you work in a chemical plant or other location that involves regular, prolonged exposure to benzene, you could face several complications. Some of the risks of chronic benzene exposure include:

  • Various forms of cancer, including myeloid leukemia, lymphocytic leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and multiple myeloma. Individuals who have experienced benzene poisoning are at extremely high risk of fatal leukemia.
  • Reduced production of red blood cells and white blood cells in the bone marrow, which can lead to aplastic anemia
  • Reduced proliferation of T-cells and B-cells, which reduces the victim’s natural immunities to infection

If you detect any symptoms of benzene exposure, see a doctor immediately. You could have a more serious underlying condition, or you might be able to avoid one with timely medical care.

Industries at High Risk for Benzene Exposure

Anyone who works with any benzene-containing petroleum products is at risk of exposure. Certain types of jobs increase the risk of benzene exposure. If you work in one of these industries, you are at high risk for benzene:

  • Chemical plants
  • Painters
  • Industrial processing
  • Auto manufacturing
  • Landscapers and gardeners

Whether you work in one of these industries or not, if you were exposed to benzene in the workplace, you deserve to be compensated. If you experience any benzene exposure symptoms, inform your supervisor and see a doctor immediately. You might be eligible for a range of workers’ comp benefits.

If you’ve been seriously hurt at work, you need confident, competent legal help to maximize your compensation. The seasoned California workers’ comp legal team at Invictus Law is ready to help. We’re board-certified specialists in workers’ compensation. You don’t have to pay unless we recover on your behalf. Call us today for a consultation.

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