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Each unit of blood consists of a volume of 450500 milliliters, or about one pint. About 15 million units of red blood cells were donated in 2001
All components of blood have a shelf life for human transfusion. Red blood cells, used for traumas, have a 42-day shelf life. Platelets, the clotting element in the blood that is used for cancer and leukemia patients, have a shelf life of 5 days. Plasma, which is mainly used for burn victims, has a shelf life of one year. Due to the shelf lives of the different components, this is the reason that your community continually is in need of blood.