An increasing number of scientific studies link Benzene and cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies Benzene as a top-level human carcinogen.
Increased risks of leukemia, mainly Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), have been reported among workers with high levels of toxic exposure in the chemical and petroleum industries. Gasoline truck drivers, auto mechanics and printers are also at high risk of exposure.
Long-term studies of workers at three Ohio plants, which produced rubber sheeting with a benzene solvent provided the first medical evidence that Benzene causes cancer.
More recently, the National Cancer Institute and the Chinese Academy of preventative medicine conducted a long term study of over 74,000 workers at over 600 factories and found elevated cancer risks in auto mechanics, rubber and tire workers, paper mill workers and printers, gas truck driver and gas station employees.
The American Public Health Association reports that three million workers in United States are at risk of benzene exposure:
Toxic exposure at the workplace has been a growing area of litigation in recent years as more and more people develop related cancers and conditions.
The Lyon Firm is dedicated to assisting in filing wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits against negligent employers and companies who fail to protect their workers.
What is Benzene?
Benzene, also known as benzol, is a highly-flammable hydrocarbon liquid that is colorless and has a sweet odor. It is used primarily as a solvent in oil, chemical and pharmaceutical industries. It is a natural component of crude oil, which is currently the main source of exposure.
Benzene is used to make other chemicals for use in materials such as plastics, various resins, nylon, other synthetic fibers, some types of rubber, lubricants, dyes, detergents, drugs, and pesticides.
Because it has a wide range of use, the chemical ranks high in American production volume, endangering many thousands of workers and residents in Ohio and around the country.
Benzene is a natural element of crude oil, though it is usually synthesized from other compounds present in petroleum. The chemical is regularly used as a substitute for lead, and it now makes up to two percent of every gallon of gasoline.
Based on evidence from past and recent studies, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a part of the World Health Organization (WHO), has classified Benzene as “carcinogenic to humans.” The agency reported that it directly causes acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
The U.S National Toxicology Program (NTP), formed from several U.S government agencies including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has classified Benzene as “known to be a human carcinogen.”
The U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has also followed suit with its own warning and classifies Benzene as a known human carcinogen. The EPA has published studies that report it is one of the most significant air toxins, and may contribute for up to 25 percent of the average individual cancer risk.
Industrial Benzene Use
Benzene is a highly volatile chemical, and most exposure is seen through inhalation. Industrial processes are the primary sources and concerns for worker exposure.
Benzene occurs naturally in crude petroleum so almost any level of activity that includes petroleum products can lead to dangerous exposure. Any workplace activity that includes the processing of petroleum products, coking of coal, and use of industrial and consumer products, gasoline and heating oils, can lead to exposure. Industrial discharge, landfill leachate and disposals of benzene-containing waste are also sources of toxic exposure.
Industries and companies that may expose workers include the following:
• Petrochemical companies • Petroleum refining • Auto mechanics • Rubber tire manufacturing • Benzene storage facilities • Paper Mill workers and printers • Painters • Shoe makers • Laboratory technicians • Gas station employees & gas trucks drivers
Benzene Cancer Links
A worker exposed to benzene for 40 years at the workplace is 155 times more likely to die from leukemia than an unexposed worker. Auto mechanics, printers, barge workers, petrochemical workers, and gas truck drivers are at risk.
Workers that maintain rubber manufacturing equipment and clean the facility are also at risk for long-term exposure and related cancers. Although they may not be working on the production line or directly handling products containing benzene, they are exposed in an environment with a concentration of airborne fumes.
Recently the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimated that 5 million Americans, not including those with workplace exposures, face increased cancer risks from benzene and over 60 other common carcinogens. Long-term exposure to high levels of benzene in the air can cause AML and MDS. Benzene is associated with the following types of cancer:
The WHO cancer agency may have left out key findings in recent studies, and the reasons are unknown. In an important review, the agency allegedly–according to Consumer Advocate attorneys–underplayed human exposure to the carcinogenic chemical.
This news comes at a time when millions of workers around the world, including car mechanics, cabinet makers, and various painters all using Benzene products (adhesives, asphalt, solvents, and cleaning agents), often in poorly ventilated ventilated factories and shops, could be at risk of serious harm from toxic chemicals.
The IARC is an international organization funded by 24 member States since 1985, and it has received $48 million from American taxpayers the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
Consumer Product Contamination
In recent years a number of consumer goods have been recalled due to benzene contamination. Deodorants, sunscreens and other consumer goods have been found with toxic chemicals in aerosols. Consumers are urged to replace recalled products, which may include the following:
Numerous lawsuits from injured claimants have successfully settled, and reached jury verdicts, alleging that benzene exposure caused multiple forms of cancer.
In 2016, a PA court found U.S. Steel liable for the cancer of an ex-employee. Benzene cases are notoriously complex, each requiring an experienced benzene attorney, with expertise in toxic exposure litigation.
In 2020 and beyond, attorneys are reviewing hundreds of cancer cases related to toxic workplace exposure. In Ohio, the industries linked to unsafe workplaces have been targeted in personal injury lawsuits, and companies have been held responsible.
Despite environmental regulation, toxic exposure to industrial chemicals in the workplace has become a public health concern and an expanding area of class-action litigation.
Research, past and present, supports evidence that Benzene causes specific related illnesses, including Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and other identifiable blood disorders.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), as many as 238,000 people may be occupationally exposed to Benzene in the United States.
Even though Benzene is less common than it once was, related cancer cases are on the rise, possibly from long-term workplace benzene exposure over the last 50 years.
Workplace Cancer Cases
Filing Occupational Exposure Lawsuits
Successful benzene exposure cases help empower employees to fight for their right for proper protection and compensation following injury. Occupational exposure cases also bring awareness to challenge and higher the expectations of companies who are not serving their employees justly.
Employers who fail to properly train and protect employees, or fail to warn them of the potential risks of the dangerous toxins they work with. In some cases, individual products may be toxic and the manufacturers may be liable.
The Lyon Firm is currently investigating exposure cases involving myelodysplastic Syndrome and AML cancer diagnosis. Benzene may cause other cancers and illnesses, and each case will be evaluated carefully by our attorneys.
The Lyon Firm works with industry experts and has the resources to review cancer cases, and can determine whether workplace benzene exposure directly caused a cancer.
Consumer & Workplace Safety
Benzene Exposure Litigation
Benzene is used in gasoline and as a solvent in many chemical and pharmaceutical products. In 2010, the World Health Organization said exposure to Benzene was a “major public health concern.”
It is a concern because Benzene is a toxin that may cause blood cancers such as acute myeloid leukemia (AML), myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and acute non lymphatic leukemia. The IARC classifies it as a group 1 carcinogen. Benzene is considered as toxic as asbestos.
The American Public Health Association reports that three million workers in United States at auto mechanic and repair shops, gas stations, shipping loading docks, paint manufacturing plants, printers, gas trucks, and rubber manufacturing facilities are at risk.
Toxic Exposure Settlements
Following any case of toxic exposure, The Lyon Firm aggressively, professionally, and passionately advocates for injured individuals and families against companies or employers due to a defective product or unsafe work environment.
LEAD PAINT EXPOSURE
(Hamilton County, Ohio): Confidential Toxic Exposure Settlement. Joe Lyon was Lead Counsel in a case that involved secondary lead exposure to two children. The children’s father worked at a local recycling plant that routinely recycled computer equipment, which allegedly violated numerous OSHA regulations related to providing safety equipment and clothing to prevent lead particles from being transferred home.
As a result, the Plaintiffs father transferred lead dust to his children who then suffered lead poisoning. The case was covered extensively by the Cincinnati news media and referenced in peer-reviewed medical literature. The subsequent settlement provided educational needs to the children who suffered neurological injuries due the exposure.