HAVE YOU BEEN EXPOSED TO BENZENE AT WORK?
Benzene is a clear, non-corrosive and highly flammable liquid used primarily to make other chemicals and plastics. The hazardous chemical was classified as a carcinogen (known cancer-causing substance) by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 1980.
Benzene is widely used in the United States and it ranks in the top 20 chemicals for production volume. Unfortunately, workers that are exposed to benzene are at an increased risk of developing life-threatening blood disorders and cancers.
WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF BENZENE EXPOSURE?
Benzene exposure can occur through inhalation or skin absorption. Short-term, high-level exposure can cause eye and skin irritation, drowsiness, dizziness, unconsciousness, and death. Long-term exposure can increase the risk of blood diseases, such as anemia, and certain blood cancers, especially acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). Other blood cancers linked to benzene exposure include:
- Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL)
- Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
- Multiple myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
Although some studies have suggested links between benzene and the aforementioned cancers, the evidence is not as strong as the evidence linking the hazardous chemical to AML. In addition, some studies have shown that women may sustain damage to reproductive organs. Women who breathed in high levels of benzene over an extended time suffered from irregular menstrual periods and ovary shrinkage, but it is unknown if it was a direct cause of benzene exposure.
WHO IS MOST AT RISK OF BENZENE EXPOSURE?
According to the American Cancer Society, people are most commonly exposed to benzene in higher quantities while at work. Workers are at an increased risk of benzene exposure in certain industries, including:
- Rubber industry workers
- Oil refinery workers
- Chemical plant workers
- Shoe manufacturers
- Workers in gasoline-related industries
- Laboratory technicians
- Steel workers
WHAT ARE COMMON SOURCES OF BENZENE?
Benzene is found in many different products, including:
- Synthetic fibers
- Crude oil
- Gasoline fumes
However, the highest levels of benzene exposure have typically occurred at workplaces in the industries listed above. In addition, cigarette smoking produces a large amount of benzene. According to the American Cancer Society, secondhand smoke accounts for approximately half of the benzene exposure in the United States. Benzene exposure can also be higher in areas with heavy traffic, gas stations, and industrial sources.
CONTACT AN EXPERIENCED BENZENE EXPOSURE INJURY ATTORNEY
If you or a loved one have developed an illness such as cancer after being exposed to benzene, contact Thomas J. Henry. Our experienced workplace injury attorneys have handled a multitude of on the job accidents resulting in severe injuries and illnesses. Cancer caused by benzene can require years of treatments, surgeries, and rehabilitation. Medical costs can start to pile up, making life that much more difficult for you and your family.
Let us help you and your family obtain the real results you deserve to compensate for your medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more. Contact Thomas J. Henry today if you were injured after benzene exposure on the job. Our team of lawyers will provide you with a free case review and will take immediate action on your behalf.