Dangers of Hydrocarbon Exposure

Maryland Groundwater & Soil Contamination Attorney

Hydrocarbons are a group of organic substances that are primarily made up of carbon and hydrogen molecules; they are the principal components of petroleum and natural gas. Some of the common hydrocarbons include gasoline, lubricating oil, lighter fluid, lamp oil and kerosene. They are commonly used in industry as solvents and examples include benzene, toluene, propane, methane, acetylene and ethylene.

A worker can be exposed to hydrocarbons while working especially if they haven’t been issued the necessary protective clothing; the average person can also be exposed to hydrocarbons due to inadequate disposal methods that pollute the environment.

Hydrocarbons are easily absorbed into the bloodstream; they can be ingested, inhaled or absorbed through the skin, they are highly toxic to humans and hydrocarbon ingestion can affect a number of different organs; however, the chemical properties of the particular hydrocarbon will determine the toxicity and the route of ingestion will effect which organs are exposed to the toxicity.

The organ systems which can be affected by hydrocarbons include the pulmonary, neurologic, cardiac, gastrointestinal, hepatic, renal, dermatologic and the hematologic systems, but the pulmonary systems is the system that is commonly affected.

Who Is at Risk?

Those who are at the greatest risk of hydrocarbon exposure include individuals who are employed in industries that use or manufacture petroleum products such as gasoline distribution workers, laborers, pipe fitters, refinery workers and those who work with underground fuel tanks. The general public can also be exposed to dangerous hydrocarbons from contaminated groundwater and from the air due to emissions from burning coal and oil, evaporation from industrial solvents and more.

If you have experienced health problems after hydrocarbon exposure either from occupational exposure, contaminated water or another source, you are urged to contact a Maryland groundwater & soil contamination attorney from Miller Stern Lawyers to find out if you have grounds to file a personal injury claim.

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