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Brake Cleaners, Mechanics and Leukemia

Published on November 3rd, 2020 by Andrew Hughes

Brake cleaners have been used by professional mechanics and weekend warriors for years. People who regularly used these products in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s are at an increased risk of developing blood and bone cancers such as acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), and multiple myeloma (MM).  Learn more about leukemia lawsuits below.

Why Do Brake Cleaners Cause Leukemia?  

Some fairly strong chemicals are needed to remove brake dust and residue when changing or checking your brakes. Historically, benzene was a component of many brake cleaners.  Benzene is a known cause of blood and bone marrow cancers like AML, MDS and NHL.  For too many years, the manufacturers of brake cleaners did not warn the end users about the dangers of benzene even though they knew that the toxic chemical was in their products. These manufacturers can now be held liable to sickened mechanics, machinists, farmers and other tradesmen diagnosed with AML, MDS or multiple myeloma.

Brake Cleaner Exposures

It is nearly impossible to use an aerosol can of brake cleaner while maintaining a safe distance from the product.  Your arms are only so long. So back in the day, a mechanic using a can of CRC Brakleen or Valvoline Brake Cleaner could not escape breathing in benzene vapors. The manufacturers of these products knew they contained benzene, they knew that benzene causes leukemia, and yet they failed to warn mechanics about their products or instruct mechanics to use appropriate PPE. The use of these products in cold weather months, when windows and doors were closed without proper ventilation, led to even higher exposures. 

Michael Butts, worked as a mechanic from the mid-1960s until 2014 and was diagnosed with AML in 2015. He sued several brake cleaner manufacturers in 2017 arguing that the benzene in their products caused his AML. During the trial, the manufacturers decided to settle with Mr. Butts. Other individuals have brought lawsuits against brake cleaner companies after years of regular usage and later being diagnosed with MDS, AML and NHL.

Experienced Benzene Attorneys 

Leukemia lawsuits against the manufacturers of these products are complex and require attorneys with experience. If you do not act in time, you may lose your right to compensation. If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with a blood or bone cancer and worked with brake cleaners, call 1-800-BENZENE today and speak directly with an attorney.

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