What is Benzene?
According to the American Cancer Society, Benzene is a colorless, flammable liquid with a sweet odor. It evaporates quickly when exposed to air. Benzene is formed from natural processes, such as volcanoes and forest fires, but most exposure to benzene results from human activities. Benzene is among the 20 most widely used chemicals in the United States. It is used mainly as a starting material in making other chemicals, including plastics, lubricants, rubbers, dyes, detergents, drugs, and pesticides. In the past, it was also commonly used as an industrial solvent (a substance that can dissolve or extract other substances) and as a gasoline additive, but these uses have been greatly reduced in recent decades. Benzene is also a natural part of crude oil and gasoline, and, therefore motor vehicle exhaust, as well as cigarette smoke.
Exposure to Benzene
There are many types of industries that potentially expose workers to the harmful effects of Benzene including:
- Chemical plants
- Oil Shipping / Maritime Tankers
- Industrial plants
- Oil refineries / Petroleum processing plants
- Gasoline distribution facilities
- Adhesive product manufacturing plants
- Printing industry / Paper mills / Newspaper printing
- Rubber manufacturing / Tire manufacturing
- Pesticide production and manufacturing
- Truck and tractor mechanic shops / Vehicle maintenance facilities
- Steel production facilities
- Commercial painting operations
- Shoe / leather production
- Wood stain & varnish facilities
- Pulp manufacturing and processing plants
Studies Link Benzene to Cancer
Acute myeloid leukemia is a cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow of the body. The cancer progresses quickly and affects the blood cells that are immature causing the bone marrow to produce white blood cells that are abnormal. These abnormal white blood cells multiply rapidly and begin to take over the space needed by the healthy blood cells. Because the white blood cells are abnormal, they are unable to perform their normal functions, leaving the body susceptible to infection and uncontrollable bleeding.
The initial symptoms of acute myeloid leukemia resemble those of the flu or the common cold, causing individuals to delay treatment until the symptoms become severe or last for an extended period of time. Individuals experiencing the initial symptoms of the condition may have a fever, feel fatigued or lethargic, experience unexplainable weight loss, and may feel bone pain.
Rates of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), have been found to be higher in studies of workers exposed to high levels of benzene, such as those in the chemical, shoemaking, and oil refining industries. Further, The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is part of the World Health Organization (WHO). One of its goals is to identify causes of cancer. IARC classifies benzene as “carcinogenic to humans,” based on sufficient evidence that benzene causes acute myeloid leukemia (AML). There is no effective cure for acute myelogenous leukemia and treatments are geared towards getting the condition to go into remission.
Holding the manufacturer responsible for Benzene Acute Myeloid Leukemia
If you or a loved one has been exposed to Benzene and developed a form of leukemia, you should contact Michigan Injury Lawyers by calling 313-GET-HELP as soon as possible to discuss a possible claim.