Benzene poisoning

Benzene is a hydrocarbon with a sweet scent that is a colorless fluid at room temperature. Remember that this is a highly poisonous chemical. It is even listed as a carcinogen and not used in any household or domestic products.

Nevertheless, benzene has a variety of industrial uses. It is utilized in the manufacturing of cosmetics, pharmaceutical drugs, plastics, synthetic fibers, detergents, textiles, dyes, resins and adhesives. In addition, it is also a vital part of gasoline.

Poisoning can occur if it is accidentally or intentionally ingested, inhaled or from direct exposure with the eyes or skin.

What are the usual indications?

If an individual is suspected with benzene poisoning, the signs that might manifest tends to vary in every case.

Generally, the following symptoms might be present:

  • Pale skin with the appearance of red-colored dots on the skin
  • Respiratory issues especially in cases where the chemical is inhaled
  • Headache
  • Chest pain and tightness

    benzene poisoning
    Respiratory issues especially in cases where the chemical is inhaled.
  • Lethargy
  • Appetite loss
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Visual issues including blurriness
  • Dizziness or drowsiness
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Low level of alertness
  • Overexcitability
  • Poorly coordinated movements
  • Seizures
  • Shock
  • Loss of consciousness

An individual who is regularly exposed to benzene and its compounds in an industrial setting can result to blood ailments including leukemia.

Management of benzene poisoning

Call for emergency assistance if an individual is suspected with benzene poisoning. You can also get in touch with the poison control center so that further instructions can be given on what to do.

  • In case the skin or eyes were exposed to benzene, it should be thoroughly washed with large amounts of water for up to 15 minutes.
  • Make sure that the individual has a pulse rate and breathing.
  • Do not attempt to induce vomiting unless instructed by a healthcare professional.
  • Once the individual is taken to the nearest healthcare facility, bring along the container of the compound.

What is the outlook?

An individual usually has a good outlook if prompt medical care and supportive measures were provided.

If benzene was ingested in large amounts, it usually results to rapid death. In some cases, the individual can survive for a few days before death occurs due to the highly-toxic nature of benzene.

More Information / Disclaimer

The information posted on this page on benzene poisoning is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize the indications and how it is managed by taking a standard first aid course with Mississauga First Aid.

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