What is Benzene?

After the ITC Facility fire earlier this week, I know there are lots of questions out there swirling around in people’s minds, including one of the most obvious: What is benzene?

Benzene is a highly flammable (everyone knows this now) chemical used as a solvent and used to make may other products. The chemical formula for this organic compound is C6H6. Now, it may have been awhile since I took organic chemistry in undergrad, but I recall this combination of carbons and hydrogens form a hexagonal ring as depicted above. 

Benzene comes from crude oil but is colorless and has a sweet smell—this is why you get people that say they “like the smell of gasoline”. Benzene is quite volatile (evaporates quickly), doesn’t really dissolve in water, and can seep through the soil. According to the CDC, benzene can attack the body at a cellular level causing your cells to function improperly. Thus, benzene is a known carcinogen that generally attacks the blood cells or bone marrow causing leukemia.

Sorry for the chemistry lesson, but the massive fire at the Intercontinental Terminals Company (ITC) facility has caused benzene to be released into the air, ground, and water in and around Deer Park, Texas. People need to be aware of what this chemical is and how it can affect you. If you have experienced any symptoms or have questions regarding benzene exposure, we are here to help.

As personal injury attorneys, we have handled many cases involving injuries caused by others. These types of cases require experienced lawyers—call us now at 281.339.7349 to see how we can help.