Benzene is a colorless, flammable liquid with a sweet odor. I find it amazing the sheer number of sources of exposure to this known cancer-causing chemical. Benzene is mainly used as a solvent, but can be found in a variety of industries - from rubber plants, chemical plants, gasoline and petroleum plants, oil refineries, and even shoe plants. Benzene is used in the manufacture of consumers goods such as dyes, detergents, drugs, and pesticides.
Exposure to benzene occurs mainly through inhalation of contaminated air in the settings just mentioned; yet one of the major sources of inhalation is through smoking and second-hand smoke inhalation. It should be mentioned in light of current events in our country that benzene can occur through natural processes such as forest fires and volcanic eruptions. High levels of benzene have also been found in seafood from the Gulf - most likely due to the BP oil crisis.
What most of us probably don't realize is that benzene is present in ultrapasteurized fruit juices (due to the conversion of vitamins and amino acids to benzene during the pasteurization process) and also in cooked foods that contain aspartame (because the cooking process produces high levels of benzene).
According to Dr. Russell Blaylock, lymphoma has the fastest-growing incidence of any cancer for people under age thirty. That's pretty frightening. Even more reason to be aware of what you are exposed to on a daily basis. It is our right to know. One small nugget of good information that I discovered - green tea is a potent neutralizer of benzene.
*Visit the American Cancer Society's page on benzene for more information; also Suzanne Somer's book, Bombshell, and the interview with Dr. Russell Blaylock