Benzene and Organic Chemical Compound

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I. What is the source of Benzene?

Benzene is an organic chemical compound, which is a colorless liquid with a sweet odor. It evaporates into the air very quickly and dissolves slightly in water. It is very flammable and is formed from both natural processes and human activities. It was discovered in 1825 by English scientist Michael Faraday. Natural sources of benzene include volcanoes and forest fires. It is also a natural part of crude oil, gasoline and cigarette smoke.

II. Why Do We Use or Make Benzene?

Benzene ranks in the top 20 chemicals for production volume in the US. Benzene is used to make other chemicals which are used to make plastics, resins and nylon. Benzene is also used to make some types of rubbers, lubricants, dyes, detergents, drugs and pesticides. It is also used as an additive to gasoline to increase the octane rating and reduce knocking.

III. What harm does Benzene cause to the natural environment?

Benzene can pass into the air from water and soil. Benzene in the air can then attach to rain or snow and be carried back down to the ground where is breaks down more slowly in water and soil and can pass through the soil into underground water. It can affect the air we breath in areas where there is a lot of exposure like gas stations. So it can destroy the quality of the air around us and the water we drink.

IV. What harm can Benzene cause to humans?

Benzene is a carcinogen – it causes cancer. Breathing very high levels of Benzene can result in death. High levels can casue drawsiness, dizziness, rapid heart rate, headaches, tremors, confusion and unconsciousness. Long term exposure can cause anemia or leukemia and can affect fertility in women.

V. How can we repair the harm done by Benzene?

There is not too much that can be done to repair the harm that Benzene causes, because once the harm has been discovered, the Benzene has already been a human's system long enough to be detected....
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