Benzene is colorless liquid that is sweet smelling and a known carcinogen. It evaporates into the air quickly and is water soluble to a degree. Benzene exposure through breathing the vapors can cause serious health issues and even death. Sizable or prolonged exposures have been linked to many forms of leukemia particulary Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML).
Benzene may occur naturally in the environment from volcanoes and forest fires. It is also present in crude oil, gasoline, and cigarette smoke. Benzene is also a component in many common products such as charcoal lighter fluid, contact cements and glues, hydraulic fluids, inks, lacquer thinner, paint removers and solvents. These are just a random sampling of the products that can cause benzene exposure.
Occupational Benzene Exposure
Many industries that produce or use benzene can expose workers to this dangerous carcinogenic substance. Examples of benzene production include but are not limited to petrochemicals, petroleum refining, coke and coal product manufacturing, tire manufacturing and printing. Workers may be exposed also in the transportation of these products. Other workers at risk for benzene exposure include steel workers, railroad workers, shoe manufacturing workers, firefighters and even gas station employees.
Environmental Benzene Exposure
Instances of industrial discharge, both accidental and deliberate, have caused widespread benzene exposure in entire communities through ground water supplies, rivers, streams, lakes and ponds. One notable case was in Pompton Lakes NJ where a DuPont Facility allowed benzene and other solvents, along with heavy metals to run from a storage pond into the nearby lake via a stream, oddly named Acid Brook. Residents living along the brook, including children who played in or near the brook, developed leukemia, and other cancers, at a much higher per capita rate than is considered normal. DuPont settled, without admitting wrongdoing for a reported $38.5 million in 1998 to the 427 current and former residents. Other DuPont cases in the same town, regarding the EPA and groundwater plume pollution, are still pending almost 20 years later.
The EPA has set the admissible percentage of benzene in drinking water 0.005 milligrams per liter.
Danger to Consumers
Many common household products such as glues, paint removers, cleaning products, art supplies and detergents contain benzene. Alarmingly many companies do not list the carcinogen as a component on labels citing it as a trade secret. This has been an increased concern recently when the chemical was discovered in soda and other soft drinks. The number one risk to consumers is still cigarette smoke.
Another serious problem regarding benzene exposure is the deliberate inhalation of benzene to get high. Huffing as it is called on the street is not only addicting but can lead to brain damage and other serious injuries.
Benzene has been linked to many serious side effects both long term (chronic) and short term (acute). Some of these are:
- Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML)
- Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
- Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia
- Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- Myelodysplastic Syndrome
- Aplastic Anemia
- Hairy Cell Anemia
- Multiple Myeloma
- Hematologic Cancers
- Myelofibrosis and Myeloid Metaplasia
- Thrombocytopenic Purpura
Anyone who has been diagnosed with any of the above conditions and suspects the cause to be benzene exposure should contact a personal injury attorney that specializes in toxic exposure injuries. There may be compensation available for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering as well as punitive damages. Exposure may have been occupational, accidental, natural, product related.
If you lost a loved one due to benzene exposure or you or a loved one became ill, contact a toxic exposure attorney at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA for a free evaluation of your case. There is no cost to you until your case is won. Do not hesitate as statutes of limitation apply. Call 727-451-6900 today or simply fill out the contact form on our website and an attorney will be in touch.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765