Benzene is a clear, colorless aromatic liquid that is highly flammable, carcinogenic and is used in many industries. Benzene is widely used in the United States to make other chemicals which are used to make plastics, resins, and nylon and synthetic fibers.
It was also used as a degreasing agent, a cleaner for watch springs, and a coffee decaffeinator. Benzene is still instrumental in the production of plastics, nylon, adhesives, and other products. It is also occasionally used in laboratory applications. Oil workers, gas station attendants, factory workers, watchmakers are some other jobs that may be susceptible to exposure to benzene or benzene exposure.
Benzene is also used to make some types of rubbers, lubricants, dyes, detergents, drugs, and pesticides. Natural sources of benzene include volcanoes and forest fires. Benzene is also a natural part of crude oil, gasoline, and cigarette smoke.
Benzene exposure has been linked to and may cause:
- hematotoxicity – damage to blood cells
- immunotoxicity – damage to the immune system
- genotoxicity – damage to chromosomes and to genes
- reproductive toxicity – damage to sperm, male fertility, ovaries, menstrual cycles
- female fertility, the developing fetus and offspring
- blood diseases – aplastic anemia, pancytopenia, myelodysplastic syndrome
- cancers – primarily of the blood forming organs: leukemias, lymphomas, and multiple myeloma.
Workers employed in industries using or producing benzene (i.e., petrochemical companies; petroleum refining and coke and coal chemical manufacturing; rubber tire manufacturing; and companies involved in the storage or transport of benzene and petroleum products containing benzene) have the greatest likelihood of exposure.
Another use of Benzene is as a solvent in printing, paints, and dry cleaning.
Benzene may cause harmful effects on the bone marrow and can cause a decrease in red blood cells leading to anemia (blood disorder). It can also cause excessive bleeding and can affect the immune system, increasing the chance for infection. The effects of long-term benzene exposure at high levels in the air may also cause leukemia, a potentially fatal cancer of the blood-forming organs (blood disorder).
Additionally, benzene has been connected to a rare form of kidney cancer in two separate studies, one involving tank truck drivers, and the other involving seamen on tanker vessels (See Case Watch℠ – (Seaman and Kidney Cancer), both carrying benzene laden chemicals.
In any event, if you work or worked in any one of the above-referenced industries, believe you may have been exposed to high levels of benzene and have experienced any of the above-listed symptoms, please immediately consult your doctor about any health issues or questions you may have.
CASE WATCH℠ is a compilation of Benzene exposure cases nationwide and is provided for the seaman and others as a source of information. We hope that it is both helpful and informative.
At the Gooch Law Firm, we pride ourselves on providing our clients reliable representation for even the most challenging cases.
If you believe you may have been exposed to benzene and developed and injury (e.g., leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia (AML), myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and others and/or bladder cancer, Kidney cancer)) because of exposure to benzene, contact our office at 1.844.329.5955.
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