What Does Benzene Do to Your Body?

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Benzene, a naturally occurring chemical compound, is sweet smelling and colorless, or slightly tinged yellow in its liquid form. This highly flammable compound is also known as a human carcinogen and has been found to cause a multitude of adverse side effects and complications in those who have been exposed to it in high concentrations for extended periods of time.
Benzene is widely used in the United States and ranks in the top 20 chemicals for production volume. Most of the benzene found in the environment has been released from industrial processes. The most common uses of benzene include the production of drug, medications, plastics, rubber, and dyes. It also occurs naturally in the environment when materials rich in carbon begin to burn, but are not completely consumed by the fire. Additionally, it is found around forest fires, volcanoes, and is present in cigarette smoke.


Exposure to benzene can have numerous harmful effects on individuals. The severity of the injuries, or degree of symptoms, caused by exposure to benzene depends on the amount of benzene that individuals are exposed to and the length of time that they are exposed.

Short Term
Short term exposure to benzene can lead to irritation of the respiratory tract, eyes, and skin, and can even lead to dizziness, drowsiness, stupor, seizures, comas unconsciousness, and possibly death at higher levels. Benzene is also harmful to the skin. Exposure to low levels of benzene vapors may cause dermatitis, a skin reaction characterized by dry, itchy, red skin.

Long Term
Long-term exposure to benzene has been linked to life threatening side effects such as anemia and cancer, most notably different forms of leukemia, the strongest connection is with acute myelogenous leukemia followed by chronic lymphocytic leukemia. High-level exposure can severely damage the lungs causing fluid accumulation and bleeding, which is often fatal. In addition, highly concentrated benzene vapors or spills of liquid benzene on the skin can cause second-degree burns.

If you or a loved one has been harmed by benzene exposure, contact the Madeksho Law Firm, PLLC at 1-800—432-6048.