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| Last Updated:: 01/04/2016








Benzene is one of the largest-volume petrochemical solvents used in the fossil fuel industry. It is a major component in all major fossil fuel production: oil, coal, and gas.

People are exposed to it from inhaling automobile exhaust and gasoline fumes, industrial burning such as oil and coal combustion, and exposure to fracking fluids.
Exposure to benzene reduces red and white blood cell production in bone marrow; decreases auto-immune cell function (T-cell and B-cells); and has been linked to sperm-head abnormalities and generalized chromosome aberration.


The use of benzene, like other toxins used in oil and gas, is particularly insidious because the effects — as seen in the children of the military families at Camp Lejune — take many years to manifest. And due to lax regulations, these products have been rushed into use long before any long-term testing has been possible. “It takes about 20 years, let’s say, for solid tumors to develop after exposure to a chemical,” said Brian Schwartz, an environmental epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University.