BTEX is shorthand for a number of volatile aromatic compounds typically found in petroleum products, such as gasoline and diesel fuel. BTEX stands for benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes. These compounds often accompany one another in part because their mixture has been used as a solvent. Together, BTEX is a slightly greasy, colorless liquid. These are also some of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in petroleum products and derivatives.
Toluene is an aromatic hydrocarbon that is used as a raw material in many industrial applications. It is also commonly used as a solvent. It can dissolve other chemicals such as paints, paint thinners, silicone sealants, rubber, printing ink, adhesives, lacquers, and leather, among other things. Toluene’s properties as an industrial cleaner make it commonplace in many settings. Toluene may also be used in biochemical experiments.
Ethylbenzene is colorless with an odor similar to gasoline. It is liquid and highly flammable. Ethylbenzene is used in the process of creating styrene, a chemical precursor to polystyrene, a common plastic material. It is used to manufacture many products such as rubber, plastic, insulation, fiberglass, pipes, automotive component parts, and food containers.
Xylene is also a hydrocarbon related to benzene. There are many different types of xylenes and they have many applications, including in the printing, rubber, and leather industries. Xylenes are also common components in the production of ink, rubber, adhesive, and leather. Its solvent properties make it a cleanser for steel, silicon wafers, and integrated circuits. Xylene is even used in dentistry to dissolve material used for endodontics, i.e., root canal treatments.
Benzene is a known human carcinogen that has been shown to cause blood diseases, including leukemia, in chronically exposed persons. There are also short term risks associated with benzene exposure including eye, skin, and respiratory irritation, as well as headaches, drowsiness, and dizziness. Women exposed to benzene also risk reproductive damage.
Toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes can have harmful effects on the central nervous system. These products are usually encountered in vapor form. When toluene is inhaled it can cause drowsiness, confusion, weakness, memory loss, nausea, loss of appetite, and hearing and color vision loss. Inhaling high levels of toluene in a short time may cause light-headedness, nausea, or sleepiness. It can also cause unconsciousness, and in high doses, death. Exposure to ethylbenzene can cause eye and throat sensitivity, as well as dizziness. Ethylbenzene is a possible carcinogen according to some research sources.
If the release of a hazardous substance or a pollutant in the air, water, or soil, has made you ill, or if you suspect that you may become ill because of a release, you should know your rights. Environmental lawyers experienced in fighting petrochemical manufacturers can assist you in evaluating your options and obtaining relief for your damages. Call the Toxic Injury Lawyers to protect the health and safety of your loved ones. Your call to 732-355-1311 is toll free. You can even submit a case inquiry online.
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