Benzene is a clear liquid with a sweet smell, and it is a very poisonous chemical. Benzene poisoning or exposure can happen via swallowing, inhalation or skin contact.
Benzene can be naturally spewed into the air from volcanoes and forest fires. It’s also a natural part of crude oil, gasoline and tobacco smoke. Benzene is an air pollutant that can be found in:
- detergents, insecticides
- emissions from burning coal & oil
- fumes given off while pumping gas
- motor vehicle exhaust ~ additive to gasoline, diesel fuel
- various paint, glues, furniture was, lacquer, varnish removers
- industrial solvents ~ rubber industry, oil refineries, chemical plants, shoe manufacturing
The levels of benzene in household indoor air is generally greater than that of outdoor because of the numerous products that contain benzene. Benzene exposure is difficult to avoid, but you can lessen the exposure to benzene by keeping your living space well ventilated.
Symptoms of benzene poisoning may vary depending on the route of your exposure. Yet, some of the more common symptoms caused by benzene are:
- appetite loss
- blurred vision
- chest tightness
- nausea, vomiting
- burning nose & throat
Breathing in an extremely high level of benzene can cause your death.
If you suspect you’ve been poisoned by ingesting benzene or encountered a high exposure to benzene, then contact the National Poison Control Center @ 800-222-1222 and seek health care assistance ASAP. And don’t wait for benzene caused symptoms to arrive before you take action.