Health Effects of Benzene Exposure
How can Benzene get into your body?
Inhalation: We all know that the average person breathes 10,000 L of air during their work day, and that is the main pathway of benzene exposure – breathing in its vapours. Inhaled benzene gains access to the blood stream and the rest of the body.
Skin Absorption: Benzene, in vapour and liquid form, is readily absorbed across your skin. Therefore, another pathway of exposure is by getting benzene, or liquids containing benzene on your skin. Skin contact with liquid benzene can cause rashes, cracking, and defatting of the skin. As the skin’s defenses are reduced, benzene absorption can increases.
Ingestion: Benzene can be taken in by mouth, inadvertently, if you have benzene-contaminated materials on your hands when you eat or smoke. You could also ingest benzene if you are splashed in the face with fluids containing benzene.
According to the research, health effects of benzene exposure can vary, depending on: Duration or exposure, intensity or dose-rate’ of exposure, individual sensitivities and amount taken into the body (dose).
Acute effects occur immediately after benzene exposure, and can include: unconsciousness, death, headache, feeling ‘high’, and disorientation.
Chronic effects: occur over time, after repeated benzene exposures. Often these effects are not diagnosed until they are revealed when disease develops. Chronic effects include: damage to the blood system, resulting in weakness, skin discoloration and hemorrhage.
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