Chemicals are abundant in the production of products we use every day, from the plastic water bottles we drink from to the fuel we put in our cars. The bi-products of this manufacturing can pose a risk to employees, their families, and the surrounding community. Benzene is a commonly used chemical in manufacturing particularly in the petroleum industry and can have serious adverse effects on those who are exposed. Many people are completely unaware of the risk for benzene exposure that might be as close as their own backyard.
What Is Benzene
Benzene is a natural constituent of crude oil and is one of the most basic petrochemicals. Widely used it is utilized to make other chemicals such as plastics, resins, nylon and synthetic fibers, as well as certain types of rubbers, lubricants, dyes, detergents, drugs, and pesticides. It is one of a small number of industrial chemicals that are recognized as a known human carcinogen.
Benzene in the Workplace
Workplace exposure to benzene is a serious concern and can have dire effects. The greatest risk for benzene exposure typically results from inhalation; however, workers whose skin come into contact with fuel or solvents can be exposed to high levels of the dangerous chemical. Some industries where it is most commonly used are:
- Waste Management
- Rubber Processing
- Tank Cleaning
- Detergent Production
- Petroleum Processing
- Laboratory Technician
- Solvent Production
- Gas Station Attendants
- Coke Oven Workers
- Railroad Workers
- Tanker Truck Drivers
Risk for Benzene Exposure in the Community
Living near a facility that produces or utilizes benzene may result in a toxic chemical exposure. These facilities include oil refineries, chemical plants, and other product manufacturers. Studies have shown that proximity to an oil refinery, for instance, can greatly impact the risk of cancer.
Products we use every day in our homes may contain benzene and should be avoided. Some of these items include:
- Cleaning Products
Cigarettes are also a source of exposure to benzene, in addition to many other harmful substances that can have adverse health effects.
In the United States, gasoline has contained an average of about 1.5% benzene for the past two decades but may reach 5% by volume. Affixing a warning label on gasoline pumps that includes the cancers and other diseases known or likely to be caused by exposure, may serve to reduce unnecessary exposure to garage mechanics, gas station service attendants, highway maintenance workers and consumers who fill their own gas tanks.
Adverse Effects of Benzene Exposure
Exposure to benzene has a lengthy history of causing both short and long-term adverse health effects in human beings. Studies have proven a direct link between exposure and various cancers including:
- Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)
- Aplastic Anemia
- Multiple Myeloma
- Myelodysplastic Syndrome
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
Click here to download our book “Benzene Exposure and the Risk of Cancer”
What You Need to Know
If you or someone you know has been suffering from one of the above conditions and believe it is related to the risk for benzene exposure there are actions you can take. A lawsuit is often necessary to maximize the settlement in cases of toxic chemical exposure. Toxic chemical exposure cases are highly complex and require the support of qualified medical evidence to support claims for damages. If you would like to explore filing a lawsuit The Dysart Law Firm, P.C. has fought some of the world’s largest corporations to obtain compensation for victims of corporate negligence and greed. Contact us today at 800.700.6392.