Chemical Safety and Industrial Hygiene

In order to know what the potential problems are that would exist in our case study of benzene exposure, we must first gain an understanding of what benzene is in terms of a substance. Benzene is a chemical that is a colorless or light yellow liquid in its state at room temperature (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013). This chemical will quickly vaporize when exposed to air and because it is denser than air will likely descend to lower areas. Benzene will only partially dissolve in water and because its properties it tends to float at the top of water when it comes into contact with it.

Benzene occurs both naturally by processes of life and can also be generated by human activities. Some natural sources of benzene include volcanoes and forest fires (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013). Benzene is also a byproduct of crude oil, gasoline and cigarette smoke. Among chemicals widely used in the United States, benzene ranks in the top 20 for production volume (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013). Some organizations use the chemical to make other chemicals used in manufactured goods such as plastics, resins, nylon and synthetic fibers. Benzene is also a core ingredient in items like lubricants, rubbers, dyes, detergents, drugs and pesticides.
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