A past issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, chemical engineer Melvyn Kopstein warns that workplace use of petroleum-derived solvents can expose workers to benzene, a known carcinogen.
“Workers must be informed when products they use contain carcinogens such as benzene,” Kopstein writes.
He points out that federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations require manufacturers of benzene-containing solvents to make that information available, in part because employers have to know when it’s necessary to take precautions such as providing gloves, respirators and adequate ventilation.
Kopstein lists a number of common solvents that may contain benzene, including mineral spirits, toluene, xylene, lacquer thinner and rubber solvent.
“Many of the 238,000 people estimated to experience exposures to benzene in the United States each year work with benzene-containing products under conditions of inadequate ventilation,” he writes.
According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, benzene ranks in the top 20 chemicals for production volume in the United States. 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.
If you believe you’ve been harmed by exposure to benzene, contact Lopez McHugh for a free case evaluation.
See more information about benzene here: