This chemical highly flammable has a sweet odor and is light yellow or colorless at room temperature. It is highly volatile, that is, it evaporates very quickly into the air. Since its vapor is heavier than air, it sinks in the low lying areas. The chemical dissolves slightly in water, and it mostly floats in water (Tranfo, 2012).Benzene is one of the most widely used chemicals. It is among the top 20 chemicals used for production. Some industries use it to make chemicals for making resins, plastics, nylon and other synthetic fibers. People get exposed to benzene through tobacco smoking, industrial emissions, motor exhaust and gas stations.
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Indoor air is likely to have more benzene than outdoor air. The chemical may also leak from hazardous waste to underground storage tanks. Acute inhalation of benzene causes may cause drowsiness, headaches, dizziness, and skins, eye, and irritation of the skin, eyes, and respiratory tract. Long-term exposure causes various disorders in the blood such as reduced numbers of red blood cells that can lead to anemia. The chemical has been observed to cause an adverse effect on the development of the fetus in animals. There is also a high risk of developing leukemia in people exposed to benzene over a long time.
National Research Council (U.S.) & United States. (1984). Health effects of benzene: A review. Washington: Environmental Protection Agency.
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