Is Benzene Exposure Dangerous for Offshore Workers?
One of the most dangerous aspects of offshore work isn’t visible to the people at risk from exposure to it. Benzene is a colorless gas that’s a yellow liquid at room temperature. One of the simplest ways to determine the presence of benzene is through its smell. Benzene is characterized by a sweet odor. Generally, benzene levels are hazardous if enough of the gas is present to produce a detectable odor.
Benzene is a product of natural processes and the actions of humans. The gas is a product of crude oil, gasoline, and cigarette smoke. It’s also used to make industrial products like dyes, detergents, explosives, synthetic rubber, and pharmaceuticals. Notably, benzene is dangerous to offshore workers because of its association with crude oil.
Why Is Benzene Dangerous?
Benzene is dangerous because of the long-term and short-term effects that it has on humans. Those who inhale or ingest high levels of the gas at once can suffer from multiple symptoms.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, symptoms from short-term benzene exposure include:
- Irritated stomach
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
Research reveals benzene can be most destructive to worker health through long-term exposure of a year or more. Extended and consistent exposure to benzene can harmfully affect bone marrow and decrease a person’s red blood cell count, causing anemia. The Department of Health and Human Services has identified benzene as a carcinogen for humans. The substance has been closely linked to causing leukemia. Because of this, long-term exposure to benzene is incredibly dangerous for offshore workers.
What to do if You’ve Been Exposed to Benzene
If you’ve developed an illness because of benzene exposure during offshore work, help is available. Employers have a responsibility to protect workers from benzene, especially since it is a well-known carcinogen that’s found in a variety of products. Your illness was likely preventable with the correct protection from benzene exposure.
At Arnold & Itkin, we have a history of results for offshore workers who’ve suffered because of the negligent actions of their employers. No excuse is enough to explain why you’ve suffered so much, and we’ll fight for the answers that you deserve during this difficult time. Call us today for help; a consultation with our team is free.