Benzene is a chemical that is a colorless or light yellow liquid at room temperature. It has a sweet odor and is highly flammable. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has determined that benzene causes cancer in humans. Long-term exposure to high levels of benzene can cause leukemia–cancer of the blood-forming organs. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “long-term exposure” is continued exposure of a year or more. The seriousness of poisoning caused by benzene depends on the amount, route, and length of time of exposure, as well as the age and pre-existing medical condition of the exposed person.
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