December 03, 2004

Mmmm, Benzene

New findings suggest that even small amounts of benzene can damage bone marrow and depress white blood cells:

...As expected, workers exposed to benzene at levels of 1ppm and higher had fewer white blood cells, such as granulocytes and B cells, than did unexposed workers.

But this also held true for the 109 workers exposed to less than 1ppm of benzene - even after controlling for smoking and other potential confounding factors.

These workers had on average 15% to 18% fewer granulocytes and B cells than did unexposed workers.

The researchers say that although these workers showed no signs of ill health, the findings suggest that low doses of benzene may have a damaging impact on bone marrow which could lead to health problems.

White blood cells, which are produced in the bone marrow, play a key role in the body's ability to fight off infection and disease. ...

This article was linked to another about the beloved smell of new cars:

Researchers in Australia say the smell of new cars can be toxic and can even cause cancer.

A two-year study by an Australian government research organisation found gases from vinyl and plastic materials in new cars cause headaches, nausea and drowsiness.

The chemicals involved include benzene - a known cancer-causing agent - which was found in one case at five times the recommended exposure limit.

The study by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) found emissions can take just a few minutes to take effect and may be responsible for many accidents. ...

If that's what's in the real new car smell, I wonder what kind of things they put on the fake new car smell. Ah well, at least one source of benzene exposure I don't have to worry about. My organic chemistry lab classes on the other hand...

Posted by natasha at December 3, 2004 04:23 PM | Health/Medicine/Health Care | Technorati links |