(Received 27 June 1992; accepted 18 August 1992)
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The toxicity of benzene is well established, particularly its chronic effects on the hematopoietic system and its role as a carcinogen. Acute effects are known but less well documented. This case report describes three cases of acute benzene poisoning resulting from an industrial accident aboard a chemical cargo ship. Complete autopsies were performed on all three victims, who showed evidence of cutaneous, respiratory and cerebral injury. In addition, body fluids, brain, body fat, liver and lung were analyzed for benzene, levels of which were consistent with the lipid soluble nature of benzene, although body fat showed better correlation with blood levels than brain, liver or bile.
Office of the Chief Forensic Pathologist, Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Health Science Centre, St. John's, Newfoundland
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