Benzene is a chemical that naturally occurs within petroleum, and for decades, it has been used as a building block for various plastics, resins, fuels, solvents, synthetic fibers, rubbers, lubricants, dyes, detergents, drugs and pesticides. Benzene is a known carcinogen, and it has been linked to various forms of leukemia and cancer, including strong ties to acute myeloid leukemia, a vicious blood cancer that affects approximately 20,000 people per year.
Unlike many chemicals that have been limited in use due to their link to cancer, benzene is one of the most widely used chemicals in the world. Today, the chemical ranks as one of the top 20 in production volume for chemicals produced in the United States. Because of the high volume of use, some 238,000 people may be occupationally exposed to high doses of benzene in the United States, including in the following industries:
• Benzene and various petroleum and chemical production processes (petrochemicals, petroleum refining, and coke and coal chemical manufacturing);
• Plastic manufacturing;
• Rubber tire manufacturing;
• Shipping industry, particularly with regards to oil, fuel and petroleum-based products, solvents and resins;
• Steel industry;
• Automobile / automobile service industry;
• Railroad industry;
• Rubber workers;
• Shoe makers;
• Laboratory technicians; and
• Gas station employees.
Like with many occupational exposure scenarios, the time period between benzene exposure and when cancer manifests can be many years. Many times, workers are exposed to benzene for years without knowing it exists in the products they are working with or without knowing the dangerous side effects that go along with exposure to the chemical. In addition to occupational exposure, cigarette smoke contains benzene, and as a result, smoking can cause similar symptoms to those occupationally exposed to benzene.
These are very difficult cases that require careful evaluation, but our firm is currently investigating cases in several parts of in the country where folks developed acute myeloid leukemia after being exposed to benzene or products containing benzene. If you have any questions about this subject, contact Parker Miller, a lawyer in our Toxic Tort Section, at Parker.Miller@beasleyallen.com or 800.898.2034. Parker and other lawyers in the Section will look at any potential claim anywhere in the country.
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
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