Benzene is used in many industries, including:
- the petroleum industry,
- the petrochemical industry,
- the steel industry,
- the industrial chemical industry,
- the alkalies manufacturing industry, and
- the chlorine manufacturers.
BENZENE EXPOSURE & SIDE EFFECTS
Benzene exposure may be a risk for workers in many aspects, including:
- petroleum and gasoline refining
- as well as barge workers
- drum fillers
- shipping and receiving personnel in the petrochemical industry
- other workers in a variety of general industrial occupations
- foundry worker
- refinery worker
- construction worker
- laboratory technicians
- chemical workers and instrument men
- chemical truck and tank truck drivers
- rubber workers
- workers in the printing industry
- dry cleaning industry
- and others exposed to benzene in some form, including:
- crude oil
- and benzene-containing chemicals, such as:
- and many solvents and paint thinners
Some of the tasks performed by – for example – an able bodied seaman on oil tanker as a tankerman may include:
- loading and discharging crude oil and other cargo
- connecting hoses
- cleaning tanks
- ullaging – measuring oil levels in the tanks and then topping them off
SIGNS OF EXPOSURE
Some signs of exposure to Benzene may include drowsiness, dizziness, rapid heart rate, headaches, tremors, confusion, and unconsciousness.
In addition, eating or drinking foods containing high levels of benzene can cause vomiting, irritation of the stomach, dizziness, sleepiness, convulsions, rapid heart rate, and death.
It has been reported that a major effect of benzene from long-term exposure is on the blood. It does not appear that there is a specific antidote or medication for benzene poisoning.
The most important thing is for victims to seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
TESTING FOR BENZENE EXPOSURE
There are several tests that may be administered to determine if you have been exposed to benzene, including: Benzene can be detected by measuring benzene in the breath – which must be done shortly after exposure.
Benzene can also be measured in the blood – note that benzene disappears rapidly from the blood so measurements are accurate only for recent exposures.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that approximately 238,000 workers in the United States may be exposed to benzene during refining operations; gasoline storage, shipment, and retail operations; chemical manufacturing; and plastics and rubber manufacturing.
In addition, it has been reported that tank truck drivers and able bodied seamen on tanker vessels and ships have been exposed to unsafe levels of airborne benzene laden chemicals.
In particular, Able Bodied Seamen have been exposed to unsafe levels of benzene while performing their jobs – cleaning tanks or unloading cargo for their employer, and, have subsequently developed serious health problems.
Benzene is used as a building block for making plastics, rubber, resins and synthetic fabrics like nylon and polyester. Other uses include: as a solvent in printing, paints, dry cleaning, etc.
Benzene may be used under a variety of trade names, including: Benzol 90, Pyrobenzol, Polystream, Coal naphtha, Phene.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services classifies Benzene as carcinogenic. Breathing very high levels of benzene may result in death.
CASE WATCH℠ is a compilation of Benzene exposure cases nationwide and is provided for the seaman and others as a source of information. We hope that it is both helpful and informative.
At the Gooch Law Firm, we pride ourselves on providing our clients reliable representation for even the most challenging cases.
If you believe you may have been exposed to benzene and developed and injury (e.g., leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia (AML), myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and others, Kidney cancer)) because of the exposure to benzene, contact our office at 1.844.329.5955.
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