Benzene is the most widely found aromatic compound, and its structure is in the shape of a ring. Benzene is found in the air from the manufacturing of plastics and detergents, and also found in petroleum products. Cigarettes and soda are two of the most common sources of exposure. Benzene is a carcinogenic substance, and is only legally permitted to make up five parts per billion in drinking water. Overexposure to benzene rings can lead to problems with the central nervous system and the blood, such as anaemia and leukaemia, according to the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry. There are many tests available to test for exposure to benzene rings.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Things you need
- Blood test
- Urine test
- Breath test
Monitor your symptoms, if you think you have been overexposed to benzene, and keep track using pen and paper. If your symptoms include dizziness, headaches, confusion, anaemia, drowsiness or persistent infections, make an appointment with your physician and bring your notes.
Have your physician do a blood test to check for overexposure to benzene. Benzene is quickly metabolised from the blood, so if you have not recently been exposed, the results may not be accurate. Your physician may then decide to do a bone marrow test in addition to your blood test to provide a more conclusive result.
Do a breath test, if for any reason you are unable to provide a blood or bone marrow sample. The breath test may not be as accurate, and is more time sensitive.
Provide a urine sample to your physician to do a urine test. The urine test will measure the levels of phenol, which is produced when the benzene metabolises. This test will allow for a longer time frame from exposure.
Tips and warnings
- If you think you have been exposed to benzene, consult your doctor and try to get an appointment as soon as possible to provide accurate test results.
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