Benzene Poisoning: What To Do if You Are Exposed to Benzene
Well the clue is in the title – it's benzene. Being part of crude oil and used in gasoline as an anti-knocking agent to make petrol engines work better, there's a lot of it about. It's not just in the oil industry where you can have exposure either.
Naturally any occupational connection to transport will provide opportunity for exposure – truck drivers, mechanics, logistics and so on. Not so long ago benzene was used as an after shave lotion and even as part of a process to decaffeinate coffee.
Ingenious engineers found more and more uses for this flexible chemical right through industry until in the 1970s it was found that deaths from leukemia were connected to a use of benzene by Goodyear in Ohio. Leukemia is a form of cancer that focuses on the blood.
Nowadays in the words of this research paper… "Benzene, an established cause of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), may also cause one or more lymphoid malignancies in humans"http://is.gd/i13rlR The same research paper quotes benzene levels of less than 1 ppm as the current U.S. occupational standard. That's 1 part per million – ppm.
But really there is no safe level of exposure – any level is a hazard. Discussing how benzene causes damage to the body, free radical production and damage to the immune system were mentioned. And before we move on to discuss detox and repair of the body it's important to make the point that benzene can appear in many industries.
Including shoemaking… In China " There was a positive correlation between the prevalence of benzene poisoning and the concentration in shoemaking factories" http://is.gd/x61J6t .
How to Know if you have Benzene Poisoning
Toxicity or poisoning is usually not a dramatic case of exposure followed by falling to the floor in a state of anaphylaxis or coma.
Generally exposure is repeated over a period of years. Just like tobacco smoke or asbestos. So there is time to study, diagnose and prepare to detox and cleanse the body of the pollution of the poisonous substance. Even though it is not specific to Benzene I recommend starting with a Trace Mineral Analysis also called a Hair Mineral Test. This is simple to do and takes only a few days. A sample of hair is posted to a Laboratory which analyses it and gives you results of mineral composition. It must be done via a trained Doctor or Nutritionist who is able to quickly see the absence or presence of toxic minerals and other important findings in the lab' results.
It is a good beginning and might lead to other laboratory work.
Symptoms of Benzene Poisoning
Are you suffering from symptoms such as these? "Breathing in high doses of benzene may affect the central nervous system, which can lead to drowsiness, dizziness, headaches, tremors, confusion, and/or unconsciousness. Consuming foods or fluids contaminated with high levels of benzene can cause vomiting, stomach irritation, dizziness, sleepiness, convulsions, and rapid heart rate. In extreme cases, death may occur after inhaling or swallowing very high levels of benzene. Exposure to benzene liquid or vapor may irritate the skin, eyes, and throat. Skin exposure to benzene may result in redness and blisters". From the Cancer.org website – http://is.gd/Wajiuz
More on symptoms and exposure here
Long term exposure leads to deeper damage to the body…
"Benzene targets liver, kidney, lung, heart and the brain and can cause DNA strand breaks, chromosomal damage, etc. Benzene causes cancer in animals including humans." Wiki
We could spend more time on the symptoms of Benzene poisoning but I'd rather move on to discuss what we can do about it. Further info on exposure at work here – see especially the downloadable "Public Health Statement" PDF.
Judging from what I see on various websites most people seem to think that detox can take place over a weekend!
Not so! Detoxing something as serious as benzene can be expected to take several months and to be repeated several times but the alternative is to leave the toxin in place in your body. You must have the guidance of a Naturopath or somebody experienced in detox who can help design a programme for you and monitor your progress.
The basic shape of the programme is the same as I lay out in my detox books – in order to repair the damage done to tissues and organs in your body you must upgrade your diet permanently and then follow through on a long slow and deep detox.
No quick fixes here but slow healing and regeneration.
I've mentioned diet already. Your diet needs to be an anti-inflammatory diet packed with natural anti-inflammatory foods such as apples, greens, carrots, berries, powdered flax seeds and so on. You are not targeting one organ in your body because the benzene will be carried in the blood to every organ in your body.
And because toxins tend to be dumped in metabolically inactive places such as fat cells and joint spaces you need to systematically cleanse your whole body. That is neither the bad news nor the good news, it is just the Detox News!
This is a preparatory phase and can last as long as you like. I'd suggest a month to get used to eliminating junk food from the diet and expanding your habitual food choices to include more greens, carrots, onions and healthy oils.
Next step is to heal the digestive system. Nearly all the toxins mobilised by a detox hit the gut and it is important that it's health and in particular the lining of the gut is improved.
Supplements to help this along include L-Glutamine – small doses repeated often, butter, real yogurt, rice but there are many other gut-friendly and anti-inflammatory foods. Just in case it is not clear here – a healing and detoxing diet is vegetarian there cannot be any meat, fish, fowl or eggs if you are edging your body towards healing.
Your Doctor may suggest a gut permeability test and this is important data to have.
If you are ready then now is the time you can START detox.
Long wait eh?
In truth your body will have started already in a gentle way but if you are going to do a thorough detox then you need a lot of preparation – especially for detoxing heavy metals or benzene or many of the other industrial solvents and carcinogens.
The order now for the main organs of the body is to detox the colon, then the kidney and then the liver. There is no defined period that you can state for each of these stages. You might take a month for each stage – all the while following a very nutritious anti-inflammatory and healing diet.
You might notice some symptoms as you detox each stage and that is why it is important to work closely with an experienced Health Professional. But you might swan through your entire detox with complete ease – gliding along just feeling more and more energetic and peaceful. In your discussions with your Naturopath you'll decide what role if any juicing will play in your diet and what role supplements will play.
Anti-inflammatory supplements play an important role in my work and I strongly recommend high doses of vitamin C while detoxing. The actual dose has to be fixed individually but 6 grams a day may be a ballpark number. And 6 glasses of carrot juice a day may be your juicing routine too – it has to be worked out in discussion with your Detox Expert.
There are other Detox options too;
- Epsom salts baths are a pleasant and effective detox technique
- Saunas are useful too and you can now get flat pack home saunas
- Enemas can be very effective in helping someone in a rut break through to the next stage of their detox.
All through this period you should do all you can to reduce the stress and the hassle in your life. It will directly interfere in your detox and your health so it needs to be taken seriously and not just accepted or brushed aside.
Detox is quite a journey and at the end of it you'll find that you have upgraded your health and your life. It's well worth it!
If you'd like to read some more then this is my Introductory Kindle Book
And to go further here is my "Detox In 3 Steps"