Benzene Exposure Related To Cancer. Are you a victim of benzene related cancer? The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has determined that benzene causes cancer – especially leukemia – in humans. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), benzene has also been linked to bone marrow problems, excessive bleeding and immune system disorders, and may affect fertility in women.
If you suffer from leukemia or another cancer that could be linked to exposure to this toxic chemical, our benzene cancer lawyers want to hear from you today. You may be entitled to receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. We urge you to contact our benzene cancer lawyers today for a free, no obligation legal evaluation of your case.
What is Benzene?
Benzene is a chemical that is a colorless or light yellow liquid at room temperature. It has a sweet odor and is highly flammable. Natural sources of benzene include volcanoes and forest fires. Benzene is also a natural part of crude oil, gasoline, and cigarette smoke.
According to the CDC, benzene is widely used in the U.S., ranking in the top 20 chemicals for production volume. Some industries use benzene to make other chemicals that are used to make plastics, resins, and nylon and synthetic fibers. Benzene is also used to make some types of lubricants, rubbers, dyes, detergents, drugs, and pesticides.
People working in industries that make or use benzene may be exposed to the highest levels of the chemical. Outdoor air contains low levels of benzene from tobacco smoke, gas stations, motor vehicle exhaust, and industrial emissions. Indoor air generally contains levels of benzene higher than those in outdoor air. The benzene in indoor air comes from products that contain benzene such as glues, paints, furniture wax, and detergents.
The air around hazardous waste sites or gas stations can contain higher levels of benzene than in other areas. Benzene leaks from underground storage tanks or from hazardous waste sites containing benzene can contaminate well water. According to the CDC, tobacco smoke is also a major source of benzene exposure.
Benzene Health Problems
According to the CDC, exposure to benzene can lead to both short and long-term health problems. People who breathe in high levels of benzene may develop the following signs and symptoms within minutes to several hours:
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Death (at very high levels)
Long-term exposure to benzene can affect a person’s blood. According to the American Cancer Society, rates of leukemia, particularly acute myeloid leukemia (AML), have been found to be higher in studies of workers exposed to high levels of benzene. Some studies have also suggested links to acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) in children and to chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and other blood-related cancers, such as multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, in adults. However, the evidence is not as strong for these cancers.
Benzene has also been studied for its ability to cause cancer in lab animals such as rats and mice. According to the American Cancer Society, when inhaled or swallowed, benzene has been found to cause various types of tumors in lab animals. These results support the finding of an excess risk of leukemia in humans from exposure to benzene. However, most studies in humans have not found an increased risk of cancers other than leukemia among people with higher exposures.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organization (WHO), classifies benzene as a “known human carcinogen”, with “sufficient” evidence that benzene causes acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The evidence for acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), multiple myeloma, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma is designated as “limited”.
The U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP) classifies benzene as a “known to be a human carcinogen,” as does the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
According to the CDC, other possible health consequences from long term benzene exposure include bone marrow problems leading to anemia, excessive bleeding, and immune system problems that increase the chance for infection. Some women exposed to benzene over the long term have experienced irregular menstrual periods and a decrease in the size of their ovaries. Animal studies have shown low birth weights, delayed bone formation, and bone marrow damage when pregnant animals breathed benzene, the CDC says.
Legal Help for Victims of Benzene Exposure
Our benzene cancer lawyers offer a free legal consultation to victims of benzene exposure. To find out how we can help you, please fill out our online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) today.