Benzene is a dangerous chemical that is found both in natural forms and as a petroleum by-product. Known to cause cancer, Benzene is a clear liquid with a sweet smell. It is one of the chemicals that have been found in the fracking fluids used in hydraulic fracturing. Benzene is a major contributor to water contamination from fracking. It can have fatal effects on people that are exposed to Benzene for long periods of time and at high levels.
Fracking & Benzene Exposure
Fracking is the term used to describe hydraulic fracturing, a process in which water, chemicals and sand are pumped into shale formations that hold natural gas. The materials are injected under extremely high pressures and cause the rock or coal to fracture, releasing the natural gas into a well.
The water and chemicals are pumped out, leaving the sand to hold open the fractures. Unfortunately, the chemicals are not completely recovered. It has been estimated that anywhere between 20 and 40 percent of the fracking fluids are left behind. This means a large amount of toxic chemicals are left underground.
The chemicals can poison the natural underground water supplies that are nearby the wells.
Benzene & Cancer Risks
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified Benzene as a Class A carcinogenic. Benzene exposure can result in the development of leukemia. Variations of leukemia have been linked to Benzene exposure, including:
- Acute myelogenous leukemia
- Acute lymphocytic leukemia
- Chronic myelogenous leukemia
Symptoms of Benzene Exposure
People that are exposed to Benzene in high levels or for long periods of time might experience the following symptoms:
- Irregular heartbeats
- Loss of consciousness
Benzene exposure to the eyes and skin can cause tissue injury and irritation. Drinking water containing high levels of Benzene can cause:
- Stomach irritation
- Rapid heartbeats
Does Your Water Contain Benzene?
If you feel that a hydraulic fracturing operation in your area may be poisoning your drinking water, you should contact one of our water pollution lawyers for more information. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with leukemia or another illness, you might be eligible for financial compensation.
Contact us for help today.