Benzene is a known carcinogen, which means it can cause specific types of cancer. Workers exposed to significant quantities of benzene are at risk, and may be eligible for compensation.
Benzene has been linked to:
- Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)
- Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL)
- Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)
- Multiple Myeloma
- Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma
Common Side Effects From Benzene Exposure
Exposure to benzene disrupts cell function in a number of ways. Even short-term exposure can cause serious side effects. For example, it can cause bone marrow to produce fewer red blood cells, leading to anemia. It can also change the levels of antibodies in your blood, reducing the overall number of white blood cells. These effects damage the immune system and increase your chance of getting an infection. Benzene may reduce the platelet count in your blood, which leads to excessive bleeding. The severity of the effects to your health depends on the amount of benzene that you have been exposed to, the means of exposure and its duration.
According to the Center for Disease Control, exposure to benzene through ingestion or inhalation can lead to the following symptoms:
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
Long-term effects can be much more severe. Some women who inhaled high levels of benzene had a decrease in the size of their ovaries and irregular menstrual cycles. Although it is still unknown if benzene causes birth defects in humans, studies on animals have shown that exposure leads to low birth weight, delayed bone formation and bone marrow damage. In laboratories, benzene has been shown to cause chromosome changes in bone marrow cells that are commonly found in human leukemia cells.
Common Causes of Benzene Exposure
Benzene is a natural part of crude oil and gasoline. It is also a byproduct of cigarette smoke. By production volume, it ranks among the top twenty chemicals used in the United States. It can be used to make plastics, resins, nylon, synthetic fibers, lubricants, rubbers, dyes, detergents, drugs and pesticides. It is a colorless or light yellow liquid with a sweet odor. It is highly flammable and it evaporates quickly into the air.
There are many ways to be exposed to benzene. Outdoor sources include tobacco smoke, gas stations, motor vehicle exhaust and industrial emissions. Indoor sources include products such as glue, paint, furniture wax and detergent. These lists are by no means exhaustive. Hazardous waste sites often have a very high concentration of benzene, and from there it can seep into soil and contaminate well water. Underground tanks containing benzene also run the risk of leaking and contaminating the surrounding soil. Workers producing or using benzene have the highest exposure risks.
Legal Options For Those Injured By Benzene
People who have been exposed to benzene should understand the legal remedies available to them. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury as a result of benzene exposure, you may be able to recover damages in a benzene exposure lawsuit. Please contact Lopez McHugh for a FREE consultation with a qualified and trusted attorney who can answer your questions and ensure your legal rights are protected. Call today because if you wait too long, you may be barred from recovering for your injuries by your state’s time limits.