Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. The term “chronic” refers to the fact that it usually progresses slower than other types of leukemia. Many people with chronic lymphocytic leukemia have few or no early symptoms.
Toxic Exposure and chemical exposure is suspected in some leukemia cases. Certain herbicides and insecticides, including Roundup, may be linked to an increased risk of chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia may experience frequent infections, often upper and lower respiratory tract infections that can further weaken the immune system.
CLL may progress into a more aggressive form of cancer called diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, or Richter’s syndrome. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients have an increased risk of other types of cancer as well.
Many farmers, gardeners, groundskeepers, landscapers and plant nursery staff have regularly used Roundup and other pesticides for many years, and face an increased risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple myeloma, small-cell lymphocytic lymphoma, and chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Benzene Exposure Causes Leukemia
Rates of leukemia, particularly acute myeloid leukemia (AML), have been found to be higher in studies of workers exposed to high levels of benzene, such as those in the gasoline transport, printing, auto mechanic, chemical, rubber and oil refining industries.
Compared to children of unexposed fathers, children whose fathers were occupationally exposed to benzene and alcohols used in industrial products were nearly six times as likely to develop leukemia if the exposure occurred prior to the pregnancy.
Strong evidence supporting the idea that benzene causes leukemia came from a OSHA sponsored study of benzene-exposed workers in the rubber industry. Researchers reported a significant increase in cancer clusters of leukemia in benzene-exposed workers at a rubber plant in Akron, Ohio.
Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) causes a deficiency in red blood cell production which can lead to patient weakness, fatigue, dyspnea, impaired blood flow, and secondary infection. The disease may lead to ocular, cardiac, pulmonary, or cerebral dysfunction. It is typical for patients to suffer from flu-like symptoms for 4 to 6 weeks before any diagnosis.
It is critical to preserve all medical records and work history when considering legal action against an employer. To build the strongest case possible, plaintiffs should be prepared to present evidence of an association between workplace toxic exposure and related cancers or illness.
As early as the 1940s, an American Petroleum Institute study warned that no “safe” level of occupational benzene exposure exists. Benzene is particularly dangerous because it can take years from an initial exposure date until rubber and tire workers develop any symptoms of benzene-related blood cancers like Acute Myeloid Lymphoma (AML).
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber plant in Ohio was the site of an important benzene study by The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in the 1970s. The research identified a serious leukemia risk for Ohio workers exposed to the chemical. Benzene is thought to double the risk of developing forms of leukemia like AML (AML).
In the 1980s, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) published a rubber industry study that evaluated toxicologic industrial hygiene data, and concluded that “sufficient” evidence existed to associate leukemia with occupational solvent (Benzene) exposure in the rubber industry.
A 2014 study published by the International Journal of Occupational Hygiene estimated that 68 percent of workers in tire and rubber plants exceed the current exposure limit, set forth by the World Health Organization (WHO). Significant exposures to occupational carcinogens such as benzene are still seen in a large number of tire and rubber industry workers.
Chemicals Linked to Cancer
Chemicals and toxins may be in many products used in the household and at the workplace. Proper warnings may not be given to consumers, and health risks should be assumed when using chemicals, cleaning products, weedkillers, pesticides, herbicides and other solvents.
The following are examples of common environmental chemicals linked to cancer. Some are listed as known or probable carcinogens by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organization, or by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):
What is Leukemia?
Leukemia is any cancer of the blood cells that generally begins as a cancer in the bone marrow. A victim’s marrow begins to produce large numbers of abnormal white blood cells—cells that do not fight infection, and grow faster and larger than healthy white blood cells. It, like other cancers, can spread to lymph nodes, organs and tissues throughout the body.
Treatment is necessary and depending on the type of leukemia and the cancer stage, prognosis is good for many patients. Each case is unique and medical science is improving.
Hairy Cell Leukemia & Benzene
There are no shortage of studies that make an association between occupational benzene exposure and deadly cancers like hairy cell leukemia. Medical experts and international safety agencies have long warned employers and workers that benzene exposure at the workplace may lead to occupational illness and disease.
AML and MDS concerns are raised for certain industries, including for auto mechanics, printers and gasoline truck drivers.
Evidence compiled in studies published by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) make it clear that Benzene is carcinogenic and directly causes acute myeloid leukemia (AML), myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), hairy cell leukemia and other forms of cancer.
The U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S National Toxicology Program (NTP) have echoed the WHO warning and classifies Benzene as a known human carcinogen.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) urge employers to protect workers against the risk of cancer. Should employers ignore the known risks of exposure, they may be held liable for injury and illness.
What is Hairy Cell Leukemia?
Hairy cell leukemia is a slowly progressing form of leukemia related to chronic lymphocytic leukemia. The name comes from the fact that the affected cells have projections around the outside of the cell that look like small hairs. The condition is caused by bone marrow producing abnormal white blood cells that do not mature and are unable to fight infections.
The affected cancer cells multiply rapidly and crowd out healthy blood cells. Around 800 new cases of hairy cell leukemia are diagnosed each year in the United States, most of which are arguable caused by environmental factors and occupational exposure to benzene and other chemicals.
Long-term exposure to high levels of benzene in an occupational environment has been linked to numerous types of cancer. Some people have no signs or symptoms of hairy cell leukemia, but some experience signs and symptoms common to a number of diseases and conditions, like the following:
- A feeling of fullness in the abdomen
- Easy bruising
- Recurring infections
- Weight loss
Toxic Exposure Causes Leukemia
- Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) can occur in adults or children, but typically occurs in children. It makes up about 90 percent of childhood cases, and only around 20 percent of adult cases. ALL is suspected of commonly caused by solvents, glues, paints, petroleum, or rubber.
- Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) is linked most closely with chemical exposures, especially benzene and other solvents. Safety Kleen exposure may lead to AML.
- Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) can be caused by Roundup Exposure
- Small-Cell lymphocytic leukemia (SLL) may be caused by Roundup Exposure
Developing cancer after chemical exposure depends on the following factors:
- The kind of chemical or toxin in question
- The length and intensity of exposure
- A person’s general health
- Age: very young and much older people are at greater risk
- Genetics: family history of cancer may assume a greater risk
Some leukemias are triggered by environmental factors such as toxic exposure, at home or work. If you have leukemia, particularly if you are or were employed in manufacturing or industry, you should investigate whether exposure to a toxic product may have increased your risk for the disease.