Benzene is classed as an organic solvent. It is a clear, colorless, non-corrosive, highly flammable liquid with a strong odor. It is used primarily to make other chemicals and plastics, and is commonly found in organic solvents, degreasers, and in the dye, dry cleaning and petroleum industry. It has also been an ingredient in some commercial products including dental/denture adhesives and cigarettes.
Gasoline distribution workers, laborers, pipe fitters and refinery workers others involved in the removal and repair of underground fuel storage tanks and refinery workers are at risk for exposure to organic solvents like benzene. Benzene is absorbed predominately through inhalation of benzene vapors. It can also be absorbed through skin.
Some benzene health effects, such as central nervous system toxicity, can occur immediately after or shortly after benzene exposure. Other health effects may develop as late as thirty years after exposure. Benzene has been known to cause acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and aplastic anemia. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) have determined benzene is a known human carcinogen. A carcinogen is a cancer causing substance.
What Should You Do?
If you are experiencing symptoms, see your doctor. Symptoms of the disease are very similar to the flu or other common diseases symptoms often include:
- Malaise (vague feeling of bodily discomfort)
- Abnormal bleeding
- Excessive bruising
- Reduced exercise tolerance
- Weight loss
- Bone or joint pain
- Infection and fever (pyrexia)
- Abdominal pain or "fullness"
- Enlarged spleen (splenomegaly), lymph nodes (lymphadenopathy), and liver (hepatomegaly)
If you believe you may have been exposed to benzene and have developed leukemia or lymphoma you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and should contact our law firm The Paul Law Firm to speak with an experienced attorney. The Paul Law Firm is one of the leading toxic tort litigation firms in the country. Call toll-free (855) 885-3425 for a free, confidential consultation.