Many people are unfamiliar with the health risks associated with benzene exposure until it is too late, and they have fallen victim to one of the cancers or diseases associated with it. In fact, most individuals aren’t even sure exactly what benzene is. This substance is a hydrocarbon liquid and often used as an effective solvent, mostly in the manufacture of chemicals and plastics. Benzene is a natural constituent of crude oil and is usually synthesized from compounds that exist in crude oil.
Those at Risk of Benzene Exposure
Several different industries make use of benzene for creating other chemicals, including styrene to make plastics, cumene to make resins, and cyclohexane to make nylon and other synthetic fibers. Other uses of benzene include manufacturing certain kinds of rubber, lubricants, detergents, dyes, pesticides, and even some types of drugs.
Unfortunately, toxic exposure to benzene can result in serious health hazards for those who are in close proximity to it for a length of time. Workers in the various industries that produce or even simply use benzene often carry a high risk of benzene exposure.
These at-risk professions include those in the production of benzene (e.g. petrochemicals, petroleum refining, and coke and coal chemical manufacturing), the manufacturing of tires, the printing industry, and the storage or transport of benzene or benzene-containing petroleum products.
Perhaps even more frightening for the average citizen is the fact that those who merely live near oil refineries, chemical plants, toxic waste dumps, or underground storage tanks may also be at risk for benzene exposure.
Studies on Benzene Exposure
Several human studies have been conducted, which demonstrate evidence linking benzene to the development of certain cancers. Evidence initially demonstrated higher risks of developing leukemia, especially acute myeloid leukemia (AML), for workers exposed to significant levels of benzene in the oil refining, chemical, and shoemaking industries. Additionally, long-term studies carried out at three Ohio plants making rubber sheeting showed epidemiological evidence that benzene did indeed cause cancer.
The National Cancer Institute and the Chinese Academy of Preventative Medicine conducted another long-term study. This study comprised more than 74,000 workers at 672 factories in 12 different cities; with evidence showing elevated risks of blood diseases at even low levels of benzene exposure. There is a lengthy record of benzene being controlled by OSHA.
Health Risks Associated with Benzene Exposure
- Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)
- Aplastic Anemia
- Multiple Myeloma
- Myelodysplastic Syndromes
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
Benzene Exposure Assistance
These various health risks associated with benzene exposure can lead to the physical and financial suffering of innocent victims through no fault of their own. Fortunately, personal injury law typically provides these victims the right to seek financial restitution in a civil court of law. The right benzene exposure attorney can make a big difference in the success of such a toxic tort lawsuit, and help ensure that all parties who have caused an individual’s exposure to this dangerous chemical are held responsible.