Benzene is a naturally occurring substance found in crude oil. It is also found in gasoline and pure benzene was once added to gasoline to increase the octane rating. Individuals who have worked with benzene products over long periods of time have developed diseases including:
Benzene, Gasoline & Leukemia
For the past decade, the EPA has limited the percentage of benzene in gasoline to no more than 1.3%. Even in trace amounts, however, benzene is dangerous and can pose health risks, and there is no safe exposure level to a carcinogen like benzene. Prolonged exposure to any amount can lead to dangerous health conditions, including cancer.
A colorless, flammable liquid with a sweet, gasoline-like odor, benzene has a high evaporation rate when exposed to air, so it is easily inhaled. Benzene is a common by-product in the manufacturing of synthetic fibers, lubricants, rubbers, dyes, detergents, drugs, and pesticides. As a result, workers in those industries are at increased risk for occupational cancers caused by benzene, such as acute myeloid leukemia.
Benzene is also a carcinogenic aromatic hydrocarbon, and is classified as a group one carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). It shares this ranking with other dangerous carcinogens including asbestos and plutonium.
Benzene Exposures Through Fuels
Dangerous levels of benzene can be inhaled, absorbed through the skin, or ingested, and the associated risks increase with long term exposure. The most common exposure is inhalation from being around raw fuel vapors and vehicle exhaust. Studies have shown that long term exposures to low concentrations of benzene can be more harmful than short term exposure to higher concentrations.
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Dermal benzene exposure is common, as well, since many of our clients work with petroleum-based products like gasoline and diesel fuel. Once benzene penetrates the skin, it is absorbed into the bloodstream, increasing the risk of leukemia and other health issues. For this reason it is important to keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered.
Ingestion of benzene is less common but it does happen, typically when someone has handled a benzene product and didn’t follow up with handwashing. Ingestion of benzene is far more damaging, as the stomach more readily absorbs benzene than the skin or lungs.
High Risk Jobs
Because benzene is found in so many gasolines and fuels, and these products are so widely used in the U.S., people who work in the following fields are at high risk of benzene exposure and subsequently leukemia:
If you’ve developed leukemia and spent any time in these or similar professions, you may have a benzene claim. We typically target the manufacturers of the benzene-containing products and the land-owners where the exposures occurred. We highly recommend reaching out to an attorney to get help easing the hardships you may have faced as a result of the diagnosis and treatment.
Experienced Benzene Attorneys
Benzene fuel cases are complex, and they require the skill and attention of a benzene attorney for a successful outcome. If you have been diagnosed with cancer after long-term exposure to benzene, please call our office to schedule your free case evaluation. Call 1-800-BENZENE today.