Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler

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What is benzene?

Every day thousands of workers in North Carolina are subject to toxic substances. Most of the time, proper precautions are taken to make sure no harm comes from working with these chemicals. One such substance is benzene.

Benzene is naturally found in volcanoes and forest fires. But it is also used in the plastics industry. Workers who make some rubbers, deodorants and other goods may also be exposed to benzene; it is one of the top 20 chemicals used in the country.

What makes benzene so dangerous is that is evaporates quickly and can damage blood cells. The cells stop working correctly, which can damage the immune system and cause anemia. In addition to these blood disorders, benzene can also cause leukemia.

Exposure to benzene manifests similarly to other toxic exposure. You may feel lightheaded, confused, nauseous, dizzy or even fall unconscious. Food that has been contaminated may make you vomit, feel dizzy or sleepy, give you convulsions or affect your heartbeat.

If you or anyone around you begins to feel these symptoms suddenly, you need to evacuate the area and find fresh air. Though benzene may not immediately be identified as the cause of these symptoms, it is always better to be safe than sorry. If the substance is to blame, cut your clothes off to prevent contact with the face, then wash yourself thoroughly. Then put the clothes in a zipper seal plastic bag, and put that bag inside another bag. The emergency personnel will handle it from there.

If you have been exposed to benzene in the workplace and are suffering from its effects, it is a good idea that you contact an experienced attorney. You may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits.



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