Benzene is a highly flammable, colorless, chemical that has a sweet smell. It is a natural component of gasoline, and is also used as a gasoline additive to increase the octane rating. The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies benzene as a known carcinogen proven to cause various types of cancer, including leukemia. Despite this, lawsuits based on benzene exposure are difficult undertakings.
Benzene Emissions from Gas Stations
Although benzene in gasoline is regulated, gas station attendants and mechanics are at high risk for AML due to ongoing exposure. It is not uncommon for gas to be spilled on auto body shop floors or splashed onto clothing. Because benzene has a very high evaporation rate, inhalation is the most common type of exposure. Once gasoline fumes are inhaled, the benzene can then be absorbed into the lungs.
Due to its degreasing effects, gasoline was once a staple in many auto shops. Buckets of gas were kept for cleaning engine parts and washing hands. As a result, employees often carried such a strong smell of gasoline it ends up in their vehicles and homes. Family members have complained about the smell of gas on their loved ones, and the odor later lingering in the laundry.