BTEX is made up of Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, and Xylenes, which are found together at a specific site. All of these substances are used in petroleum products. Benzene is a colorless, highly flammable liquid that has a sweet smell. It is a natural component of crude oil and is an ingredient in gasoline. Many individuals are exposure to Benzene in work environments, such as factories. Toluene is used as a solvent for paints, coatings, gums, oils, and resins and is used as an additive to gasoline. Ethylbenzene is a highly flammable, colorless liquid with a gasoline-like odor. It is used in production of plastic material. Ethylbenene is also used as a solvent in inks, adhesives, varnishes and paints. Xylenes are highly flammable, colorless and sweet-smelling substances. Xylenes are used in fuels and as a solvent in the printing, rubber, and leather industries.
When people are exposed to BTEX at certain levels, they may become ill and, in certain cases, may develop cancer or other life-threatening diseases. The possible health effects of BTEX exposure vary greatly and depend on the amount and duration of a person’s exposure, as well their personal circumstances. Gasoline or other storage tanks can leak and contaminate drinking water sources with BTEX. Exposure can cause abnormal heartbeat, nausea and gastrointestinal symptoms, blurry vision, and unconsciousness. Furthermore BTEX can cause normal cells to malfunction resulting in anemia. Long-term exposure to high-level benzene can result in leukemia. Health effects will vary with duration and concentration.
BTEX can be very difficult to clean once groundwater or drinking water has been contaminated. Methods of addressing this form of contamination range from filters to different kinds of on-site treatment systems, which can be both expensive to run and vary in terms of efficiency. Anyone who has been exposed to PFOA may commence what is called a toxic tort action or toxic tort litigation in state or federal courts, as appropriate. In toxic tort litigation, it is alleged that an individual has become harmed as a result of exposure to toxic mold. Lawsuits are filed as a result of actual personal injuries, fear or future injury, or property damage related to exposure to a potentially toxic substance. Cases that involve medical monitoring of health effects, litigation may be necessary in order to insure that exposed persons’ medical bills are paid, that they are reimbursed for damages (including out of pocket costs), personal injury, and—where warranted—punitive damages. Individuals who have dirty drinking water or contaminated drinking water as a result of gasoline station releases need to ensure that their legal rights are fully protected
Ohio Department of Health, Bureau of Environmental Health, BTEX
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