Elements and Compounds

Why is benzene in the human body?

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2007-06-19 23:56:00

Benzene is an organic chemical

compound. Benzene is a colorless and flammable liquid with a sweet

smell and a relatively high melting point. It is carcinogenic and

its use as additive in gasoline is now limited, but it is an

important industrial solvent and precursor in the production of

drugs, plastics, synthetic rubber, and dyes.

    Outdoor air contains

    low levels of benzene from tobacco smoke, gas stations, motor

    vehicle exhaust, and industrial emissions. Indoor air generally

    contains levels of benzene higher than those in outdoor air. The

    benzene in indoor air comes from products that contain benzene such

    as glues, paints, furniture wax, and detergents. The air around

    hazardous waste sites or gas stations can contain higher levels of

    benzene than in other areas.

    Benzene leaks from

    underground storage tanks or from hazardous waste sites containing

    benzene can contaminate well water. People working in industries

    that make or use benzene may be exposed to the highest levels of

    it.

    A major source of benzene exposure is tobacco

    smoke.


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