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Liquid Wrench, Benzene and Leukemia

Published on July 2nd, 2020 by Andrew Hughes

From 1960 to 1978, the lubricant Liquid Wrench contained dangerous levels of the carcinogen benzene. As a result, workers using Liquid Wrench during that era are at an elevated risk for blood and bone marrow cancers, including Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) and Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS).  Unfortunately, while Liquid Wrench worked great in terms of helping to loosen rusty bolts and screws, the manufacturer of Liquid Wrench failed to warn the end-users that its benzene-containing product could cause leukemia.

Around 90% of Liquid Wrench was once composed of a by-product of the steel manufacturing process called raffinate.  US Steel provided raffinate to the manufacturer of Liquid Wrench. In 1963, a US Steel executive informed Liquid Wrench that raffinate contained a minimum of 5% benzene. Why do these dates matter?  Because in 1948, the American Petroleum Institute concluded that there was no safe level of benzene exposure.  The petroleum industry knew in the 1940’s that benzene causes leukemia, and yet multiple generations of American workers were exposed to leukemia-causing benzene through their use of products like Liquid Wrench. They knew it could make American workers sick and they chose profits over safety.

Lawyers for Liquid Wrench’s manufacturer will often refer to 1978 as the time that Liquid Wrench no longer contained benzene. However, the manufacturer did not recall the old stock Liquid Wrench and so consumers were able to purchase benzene-laden Liquid Wrench for an unknown period of time after 1978. Because they failed to recall their product, users of Liquid Wrench continued to have dangerous benzene exposures into the 1980’s.

Surprisingly, there can still be benzene in Liquid Wrench today and an expert testifying on behalf of Liquid Wrench’s manufacturer said exactly that when discussing Liquid Wrench and benzene in a 2006 deposition. “After 1978 it may have contained benzene from other sources.” The fact is, products like Liquid Wrench are a complex mix of petrochemicals, many of which are known to contain small amounts of benzene.

If you or a loved used lubricants like Liquid Wrench and have received a leukemia diagnosis, call Benzene Lawyers today at 1-800-BENZENE to find out if you have a claim against the manufacturers of these benzene products.

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