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The EPA warns that benzene is a carcinogen (or “cancer-causing”) gas. Learn what to do if you or a loved one has been exposed, or click here to request a free evaluation.

While the ITC facility in Deer Park continues cleanup following a week-long fire that left a giant, black plume of smoke floating over Houston and the surrounding area, residents are rightfully concerned about the potential health hazards of petrochemical fires and spills.

Detection of elevated levels of one such chemical has already caused the Deer Park  LEPC (Local Emergency Planning Committee) to issue a shelter-in-place to residents — advising them against leaving their homes or places of business. That chemical is benzene. According to the American Cancer Society:

Benzene is a colorless, flammable liquid with a sweet odor. It evaporates quickly when exposed to air. Benzene is formed from natural processes, such as volcanoes and forest fires, but most exposure to benzene results from human activities.

Prolonged exposure to and inhalation of benzene has been linked to:

  • Leukemia, especially Acute myeloid leukemia (AML)
  • Childhood leukemia
  • Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL)
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
  • Multiple myeloma
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