How harmful is benzene? Earlier this month, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Announced in a press release that Unilever US issued a “Voluntary Product Recall” of select dry shampoo aerosol products produced before October 2021 from Dove, Nexus, Suave, TGI (Rockaholic and Bed Head), and Tresemé, because of “potentially Higher level than” benzene”.
It noted that benzene is classified as a “human carcinogen”, and that exposure to it can be “inhaled, orally, and through the skin”. According to the statement, it can result in cancer including leukemia and blood cancer of the bone marrow, and blood disorders that can be “life-threatening.”
The FDA said in its announcement that benzene is “ubiquitous in the environment” and that humans around the world have “daily exposures indoors and outdoors from multiple sources.”
What are these sources?
Dr. Sakshi Srivastava, Senior Consultant, Department of Dermatology, Jaypee Hospital, Noida indianexpress.com That people come into contact with it through a variety of sources, including gas stations, cigarettes, detergents, glue and paint. “It is a colourless, flammable liquid with a sweet aroma, which rapidly evaporates when exposed to air. Although benzene can be created by natural processes such as volcanoes and forest fires, human activity is the main cause of benzene exposure,” she said.
short term effect
According to the doctor, the high concentration of benzene in the air can adversely affect the body nervous systemresulting in fatigue, headache, tremors, confusion and/or fainting.
“High amounts of benzene in food or drink can cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, drowsiness, seizures, and a fast/irregular heartbeat. In many cases, it can be fatal if inhaled or swallowed in extremely high concentrations Skin, eyes, and throat irritation may occur when exposed to benzene liquid or vapor. Skin blisters and redness may develop after exposure to benzene,” she warns.
long term effects
Dr. Srivastava explained that the main area of the body affected by prolonged exposure to benzene is bone marrow The soft inner part of the bone, where new blood cells are made. he added that Anaemia (low red blood cell count), which can make a person feel weak and tired, can develop from this.
• A low number of white blood cells, which can be potentially fatal and reduce the body’s ability to fight infection.
• Low levels of platelets in the blood, which can lead to excessive bleeding and bruising.
“There is some evidence to suggest that prolonged exposure to benzene may be harmful” reproductive system, It is unknown if benzene causes irregular menstrual cycle and ovarian shrinkage, as experienced by some women who have taken high doses of the chemical for several months,” said the doctor.
According to the expert, here are the tips to prevent exposure to benzene:
– Be careful while shopping Cosmetics, Always check materials for potentially hazardous substances.
Avoid being around cigarette smoke. If you smoke, try to stop. Benzene is a significant source of exposure cigarette smoke,
– Use gas stations with vapor recovery equipment to absorb the smoke and pump the gas slowly to reduce the fumes of the gasoline. Avoid getting gasoline on your skin.
Reducing the amount of time you spend near idling engines can help reduce your exposure to benzene-containing exhaust gases (as well as other potentially harmful chemicals).
– Refrain from breathing solvent, paint, and art supplies fumes, especially in filled areas.
What to do if exposed to benzene?
“For short-term exposure to high levels of benzene, it is recommended to move away from the source, remove any clothing containing benzene on it, wash exposed areas with soap and seek medical care as soon as possible.
“If you have been exposed to benzene for a long time, consult a doctor. Benzene can be diagnosed in the blood or breath, and the breakdown products of benzene can be measured in urine. These tests can only detect the presence of benzene. Recent exposure can be traced. They cannot predict potential health effects,” concluded the doctor.
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