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Aplastic Anemia & Benzene Exposures

Published on January 25th, 2022 by Andrew Hughes

Benzene exposures can cause aplastic anemia. Aplastic anemia is a rare condition that occurs when your body stops producing enough new blood cells. This disease can lead to damaged bone marrow.  Aplastic anemia is not categorized as a cancer, but can be just as serious. Aplastic anemia can also lead to leukemia or myelodysplasia. For these reasons, it is often treated by doctors specializing in cancer.

What Causes Aplastic Anemia?

Exposure to toxic chemicals, such as benzene, can cause aplastic anemia. Genetics can play a factor in the diagnosis. Other risk factors include prior radiation or chemotherapy treatments.

What is Benzene?

Benzene is a known carcinogen with no safe level of exposure. Benzene is found in petroleum-based products. These products include solvents, paint thinners, degreasers, lubricants, inks, glues, rubbers, gasoline, and polishes.

Which Workers are Exposed to Benzene?

Many people are exposed to benzene in the workplace. Mechanics, oilfield and refinery workers, pressmen, gas station attendants, pipefitters, boilermakers, tanker truck drivers, drillers, railroad workerstugboat captains, and those involved in tire or rubber manufacturing, are regularly exposed to benzene. These exposures can increase the risk of an aplastic anemia diagnosis years later.

Symptoms of Aplastic Anemia

Aplastic anemia causes a reduction of white and red blood cells. Once the condition affects someone, they are more prone to infection and uncontrollable bleeding. Nosebleeds and bleeding gums are common symptoms. Individuals with aplastic anemia are often left fatigued.  Skin rashes and dizziness are also common.  The symptoms can be mild or severe and can worsen over time.

Treatment Options for Aplastic Anemia

Treatment for aplastic anemia will vary based on the severity of the condition. In mild cases, doctors will just monitor the patient. Severe cases with low blood counts require immediate hospitalization. Blood transfusions are used to add blood cells and platelets to the patient. Multiple transfusions may be necessary. There may be complications as iron builds up in the body, negatively affecting other organs. A stem cell transplant is the best opportunity for patients with severe anemia. This option is generally only available to younger, healthier patients. The risk of the body rejecting the stem cells is reduced when donor cells are from a sibling or other close blood relative. Drugs that are given when transplants are not possible include antivirals, antibiotics, bone marrow stimulants, and immunotherapies. Unfortunately, all treatments have side effects.

Aplastic Anemia Lawsuits

To find out whether your occupational exposures to benzene-containing products contributed to a diagnosis of aplastic anemia, call 1-800-BENZENE.  The lawyers at Hughes Law Offices consult with toxicologists and occupational medicine doctors to determine whether a link between the exposures and the disease can be established. There are many other factors to establish the viability of these toxic tort claims.  Call 1-800-BENZENE today to learn more.

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