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Benzene is a colorless liquid with a sweet odour. It evaporates into the air very quickly and dissolves slightly in water. It is highly flammable and is formed from both natural processes and human activities. Industries use benzene to make other chemicals which are used to make plastics, resins, and nylon and synthetic fibres. Benzene is also used to make some types of rubbers, lubricants, dyes, detergents, drugs, and pesticides. Benzene is also a natural part of crude oil, gasoline, and cigarette smoke.
Inhalation of benzene can cause drowsiness, dizziness, rapid heart rate, headaches, tremors, confusion, and unconsciousness. Eating or drinking foods containing benzene can cause vomiting, irritation of the stomach, dizziness, sleepiness, convulsions, rapid heart rate, and death. Chronic exposure to benzene may cause a decrease in red blood cells leading to anemia, harmful effects on the bone marrow, excessive bleeding, and can affect the immune system, increasing the chance for infection.
         Regulatory Requirements 
Currently, there are no regulations pertaining to benzene on construction projects. Industrial processes involving benzene are regulated under the Ontario Occupational Health & Safety Act, R.S.O. 1990, Regulation 839 as amended by O.Reg. 105/04, Designated Substance – Benzene. The transport of the waste to the disposal site is controlled by the federal Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992.