FlintLaw – Xarelto
The Dangers of Benzene Exposure
Benzene, a colorless, flammable liquid with a sweet odor, is one of the 20 most widely used chemicals in the United States and has been linked to Acute Myelogenous Leukemia/Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) and Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS). It is used to make other chemicals which are then used to make plastics, lubricants, rubbers, dyes, detergents, drugs, and pesticides. In the past, Benzene was also used as an industrial solvent. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified Benzene as “Category A,” meaning it is a known human carcinogen.
Occupations with a high risk of Benzene exposure include:
- Rubber industry
- Oil refineries
- Chemical plants
- Shoe manufacturers
- Gasoline-related industries
Benzene Exposure Side Effects
Benzene exposure can occur through inhalation or by absorption through the skin. However, since liquid benzene evaporates quickly, absorption is a much less common exposure than inhalation.
Short term exposure to Benzene can affect the nervous system and lead to drowsiness, dizziness, headaches, and/or unconsciousness. Long term exposure to Benzene harms the bone marrow which can result in low red and white blood cell counts as well as a low platelet count. Benzene, a known human carcinogen, has been linked to the following:
- Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. The American Cancer Society stated that long term exposure to Benzene is a risk factor for AML.
- Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) is often referred to as a “bone marrow failure disorder,” and is considered to be a form of cancer. In about one third of patients, MDS will progress to AML.
In addition, the American Cancer Society reports that some studies have suggested that chemicals such as benzene and certain herbicides and insecticides (weed- and insect-killing substances) may be linked to an increased risk of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL).