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It's funny how people believe that everyday products are not harmful. We are a consumer oriented society, and people feel that anything you can buy in the store is harmless. That is not true - and we need to be educated.

Take benzene, for example. Benzene is one of the most produced chemicals manufactured in this country.

It is found in many places. People can be exposed to it in tobacco smoke, glues, paints, furniture wax, detergents, as well as from industrial related sources.

Gas station leaks can cause benzene to leak into ground water. From there, it can be absorbed by drinking water wells. That is a very common source of exposure.

If you breathe or consume high levels of benzene, you become very sick. Enough exposure at high concentrations can kill you or your loved ones. This is not theory, this is true.

If benzene does not kill you, it can cause vomiting, stomach illnesses, sleep loss, convulsions, or rapid heart rates.

Benzene exposure over long durations may effect bone marrow and cause anemia. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, long exposures can also cause cancer. Specifically, leukemia: cancer of blood forming organs.

If you have been exposed to benzene, you should consult with your doctor and explain what you know about your exposure. You may need treatment, or you may need to be monitored.

If you know who exposed you and how, you may need to sue the responsible party. Your suit may seek payment of costs associated with the exposure, medical monitoring, payment for pain and suffering and quality of life, as well as payment for attorneys fess.

Under certain conditions, you may also be entitled to payment for punitive damages - which are designed to punish the responsible party.

People need to be smart and vigilant. While the government should and does act to protect us, it cannot be everywhere, all of the time. And lately, the federal government has seemed much more concerned about business than us.

Are you drinking well water? Have it tested as necessary. If you do not, you may be hurt and in part, that will be your fault.

Do you work near harmful chemicals? If so, find out what they are and make sure that you are being protected. If not, do what you must to be protected, or quit your job.

What price is your health worth?

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