Suspected Benzene in Illinois Groundwater Leads to Town Hall Meeting

A town hall meeting was recently held at the Rox-Arena in Roxana, IL, to address rising concerns of potentially contaminated groundwater below Roxana and South Roxana. The meeting was held by Edwardsville-based Gori Julian & Associates, PC - a law firm specializing in the representation of victims impacted by toxins.

It is currently suspected that a substance known as benzene, which is a carcinogen, may be contaminating the groundwater below both Roxana and South Roxana. There have already been multiple lawsuits filed that claim benzene leaks from nearby refineries have caused various cancers in residents and those who were either students or worked in schools in the area, according to The Telegraph.

According to a spokesman from Gori Julian & Associates, the purpose of the town hall meeting was to give "area residents the opportunity to learn more about benzene and the impact it could be having on their health."

Health Concerns Associated with Benzene Exposure

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), benzene ranks in the top 20 chemicals in production volume in the US. Benzene has a variety of uses, for example, is used to produce other chemicals that are needed to make plastics, nylons and other synthetic fibers. It is also utilized in the manufacturing of some rubbers, detergents, pesticides and drugs, among other things.

Since benzene is slightly soluble in water, some people are exposed to benzene when they unknowingly ingest the chemical by drinking water contaminated by hazardous waste locations or from underground tank leaks. According to the CDC, after drinking water containing high levels of benzene, some of the following side effects may occur within minutes of ingestion:

  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Irritated Stomach
  • Sleepiness
  • Convulsions
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Death (very high levels of exposure)

Probably the most detrimental side effect associated with long term exposure to benzene is in a person's blood. Benzene can cause adverse effects to bone marrow, a decrease in red blood cells, excessive bleeding and can impact the immune system, according to the CDC. The Department of Health and Human Services has also determined that long term benzene exposure can lead to cancer, including leukemia.

If you believe you or a family member has been injured as a result of benzene exposure, it is vital to contact an experienced attorney to be advised of your rights and options.