Benzene is a valuable raw material and intermediate in the production of other organic materials. Smaller amounts of Benzene are used in manufacturing detergents, explosive, pharmaceuticals and dyestuffs. It has become almost indispensable to the chemical industry and the wide range of its applications makes it especially imperative that every precaution be observed in its use.
The poisoning of benzene occurs primarily through inhalation of its vapors, but it can also penetrate the skin. The chemical attacks the blood-forming tissues of the body. The chemical damages the bone marrow where red blood, white blood cells and platelets are formed. These three components make up the blood and a shortage of any one of them will result in a serious blood disease.
The most serious disease caused by benzene is its ability to cause leukemia, a fatal cancer of the white cell producing tissue.