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New Study Links Benzene Exposures to Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Published on September 2nd, 2021 by Andrew Hughes

Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in the United States

More than 80,000 Americans will be diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) this year. A common – but sometimes overlooked – cause of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is exposure to chemicals like benzene, or glyphosate, a chemical in Round-Up.

NHL is one of the more common blood cancers.  There are numerous subtypes of NHL, including diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, follicular lymphoma, hairy cell leukemia, mantle cell lymphoma, and many other white blood cell cancers. The cause of each individual’s cancer is not always known and the risk factors can vary by subtype.  Individuals who have had organ transplants or prior chemotherapy or radiation treatments are at a higher risk of developing NHL, and NHL is more common as people age. The endeavor of proving-up the cause of someone’s disease can be very difficult.  A new study linking non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma to benzene exposures may help.

Comprehensive Analysis Comes Out

Companies have known that benzene can cause blood and bone cancers since World War II. And despite that fact, petro-chemical giants have had success in courtrooms denying that a plaintiff’s leukemia or lymphoma was caused by the benzene in their products.

The authors of the recently released report analyzed 20 case-control studies and 8 cohort studies which included 9,587 patients who were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. This extensive review and analysis of different types of studies led the authors to conclude that there is a causal link between non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and benzene exposure. The connection was strongest for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, with a doubling of the risk of developing this type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in highly exposed individuals.

A Truly Independent and Unbiased Analysis

The authors acknowledge that products containing or contaminated with benzene are an important part of our economy and that this reality may have hindered comprehensive studies in the past. Industry-commissioned studies can be constructed to help reach a predetermined conclusion. For this reason, the authors took great care to eliminate any studies from their analysis that could contain bias. They excluded studies that looked at chemicals in general and not benzene specifically, or that grouped non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other cancers together. They even ran the numbers after removing each study one at a time and the results were almost always unchanged. The authors understood the scrutiny that would come from industry players and took steps to meet all the scientific requirements necessary to publish their conclusions.

Bolstering the Argument For NHL Patients

Benzene has been classified as carcinogenic for decades, but the strongest connection was to acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS).  The manufacturers of benzene-containing products used that information to deny responsibility for other blood cancers. Because the authors’ meta-analysis is the first to analyze all available, unbiased studies and then meet rigorous scientific standards for causation, they were able to establish a causal relationship between significant benzene exposure and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma –  and especially diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Significant risk increases were also observed for hairy cell leukemia and follicular lymphoma subtypes.

Diagnosed with Lymphoma From Benzene?  Call 1-800-BENZENE

These benzene cases are difficult undertakings and the defendants consistently deny responsibility, even in the face of new evidence. You need an attorney who understands the scientific and legal requirements of these lawsuits. If you or a loved one has worked with benzene and been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, call 1-800-BENZENE and speak with an attorney today.

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