smoking facts

What is Benzene Leukemia
Smoking Facts about AML Leukemia

What is benzene leukemia? The smoking facts reveal that benzene is a widely used chemical and is one of the carcinogenic ingredients in cigarettes capable of producing benzene leukemia or AML leukemia.

Benzene is a chemical that is used commercially in the manufacture of plastics, resins, nylon, rubber products, insecticides and dyes. It can also be produced by pyrolysis which is a fancy scientific term that refers to the decomposition of a substance and the creation of new chemicals through high heat or burning. Certain forms of cooking are actually pyrolysis

What is Benzene Doing in Cigarettes?

What is Benzene Poisoning?

High levels of exposure can cause:

  • breathing problems
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • nausea

Rapid heart rate, vomiting, and stomach irritation may result from ingesting benzene.

Some natural processes such a forest fires and volcanoes will produce benzene and it is a natural product of the burning of tobacco in a cigarette or a pipe.

But do not confuse natural with harmless, because benzene is not harmless!

In the 1970's it was recognized that leukemia was directly linked to benzene exposures. Since that time regulations have been put in place to protect workers from the development of benzene leukemia by regulating exposure levels in the workplace.

So there are regulations in place to protect workers from benzene exposures yet no regulations to prevent benzene poisoning from smoking cigarettes.

At home you can be exposed to benzene without even knowing about it. Whenever you use products such as glues,waxes paints or solvents there is likely to be benzene in there. However, such small exposures are not likely to result in poisoning because the exposure is short term and the dose of benzene is low.

The human body also has specific chemical systems that work to detoxify and "reduce" these types of low dose chemical exposures of short duration.

As long as you follow the manufacturer's directions to use these products in a well ventilated area they are safe for intermittent occasional use at home.

smoking facts

Over the long term, however, exposures to this chemical are now known to be associated with the development of AML leukemia (acute myelocytic leukemia). The relationship is so clear that the term benzene leukemia is used to describe the type of leukemia caused by long term exposures.

The major effect of benzene from long-term exposure is on the blood. Benzene causes harmful effects on the bone marrow and can cause a decrease in red blood cells leading to anemia. It can also cause excessive bleeding and can cause a decrease in immune system functions, thereby increasing the chance for infection.

Q - What is benzene?

A - Benzene is one of the carcinogenic ingredients in cigarettes and is known to cause blood cancer in humans.

Arsenic is another carcinogenic ingredient in cigarettes.

by Beverly OMalley

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