Benzene is a common product used in a great many different industries and countless people are exposed to it, mostly through inhalation. Many people are unaware of their benzene exposure and worse -- they are not aware of the health dangers. One of those inherent dangers is a life threatening disease known as Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML).
Most exposures to benzene occur on the job. Benzene is present in the atmosphere in small quantities where it poses no health risk, however many workers are in close proximity to benzene, or products containing benzene, and their higher level or longer term exposures can place them at serious risk levels for developing AML or several other serious conditions.
Benzene generally enters the body through inhalation but skin absorption is another less common avenue. Once in the bloodstream benzene has detrimental effects on the bone marrow and the cells which form blood. White and red blood cells as well as platelets become damaged in turn leading to the development of AML and other forms of leukemia or lymphoma. AML is a rapidly growing cancer that can also spread to other places in the body including the liver, brain, spinal cord, spleen and more.
Benzene exposure can occur in a multitude of jobs in many different industries. Sudden, heavy exposure may be realized as dizziness, nausea, drowsiness or even unconsciousness but many exposures do not produce any symptoms for years.
Anywhere that benzene is produced, refined or used in products has a great potential for causing illness to workers who are exposed. Some of these industries are:
- Petroleum – Petroleum products contain benzene. Refining and extraction, shipping and transporting, auto mechanics, railroad workers all are at a risk of exposure through petroleum.
- Printing – Printer solvents are made partly from benzene
- Floor Installation – Floor often contain benzene from chemicals used in treatment.
- Industrial Manufacturing – Manufacturing of products containing benzene includes rubbers, plastics, detergents, solvents, lubricants, adhesive’s, glues, paints, dyes, detergents, pesticides plus many more.
- Oil Based Product Manufacturing – Manufacturing of products containing oil includes paints, glues, stains, solvents, de-greasers, pesticides, dyes and adhesive products as examples.
- Steel Industry – Steel workers can be in direct contact with benzene.
- Chemical Labs – Chemical lab workers can be exposed through certain products.
- Gas Stations and Transportation – Anyone working with gasoline can be exposed to benzene.
- Waterfront and Offshore Workers
The Detrimental Health Effects of Benzene Exposure
Acute Myeloid Leukemia can be caused from exposure to benzene. This is an undisputable fact. Also known as Acute Myelogenous Leukemia, there are eight different diagnoses of AML, all can be the result of benzene exposure. These are listed alpha-numerically:
· MO – Acute Myeloblastic Leukemia with Minimal Differentiation
· M1 – Acute Myeloblastic Leukemia without maturation
· M2 – Acute Myeloblastic Leukemia with Granulocytic Maturation
· M3 – Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia
· M4 – Acute Myelomonocytic Leukemia
· M5 – Acute Monocytic Leukemia
· M6 - Acute Erythroid Leukemia
· M7 – Acute Megakaryoblastic Leukemia
In addition to AML, exposure to benzene can also cause a group of diseases that affect the bone marrow and blood in various ways known as Myelodysplastic Syndromes or MDS. Some of these include:
· Refractory Anemia with Ringed Siderblasts (RARS)
· Refractory Anemia with Excess Blasts (RAEB)
· Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia (CMML)
· Myeloproliferative Disorder
Benzene exposure has also been linked to Acute, Chronic and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
What Should You Do If You Were Exposed to Benzene and Developed a Serious Medical Condition
Some people never connect benzene exposure with their disease because it can take so many years to develop. They either forgot they worked with or around the chemical substance or were not aware at the time. If you have been diagnosed with AML or any other blood disease, you should contact a personal injury lawyer immediately. The statutes of limitations apply in these cases and the window to file may be closing soon. You may be entitled to compensation but waiting too long may cost you that opportunity.
Dolman Law Group is a personal injury law firm with a great deal of experience with benzene exposure cases. If you or a loved one became ill and believe benzene exposure at work is to blame, contact our St. Petersburg wrongful death attorneys immediately for a free evaluation of your case. But do not wait – time is running out. Call (727) 222-6922 today.
Dolman Law Group
1663 1st Ave S.St. Petersburg, FL 33712