Benzene Injury Law

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Printer Ink and Benzene Exposure

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As a result of chronic exposure to solvent-based printing inks, many printers and pressmen are at an increased risk for blood, lymph, and bone cancers, as well as myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a potentially fatal blood disorder.

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    The link between printer ink and multi myeloma cancer, acute myeloid leukemia (AML), and other serious diseases may mean certain individuals who worked in the printing industry, and were exposed to benzene, are entitled to collect damages from the ink manufacturers. If this criteria applies to you or someone you love, our team of dedicated benzene lawyers can help determine if you are eligible to receive compensation.

    Does Printer Ink Cause Cancer?

    Chronic exposure to printing ink is connected to leukemia, multiple myeloma, non-hodgkin’s lymphoma, MDS and other diseases because, historically, many common solvent-based printing inks contained dangerous amounts of benzene

    Benzene is a carcinogenic aromatic hydrocarbon that poses significant health risks. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies benzene as a known carcinogen. Examples of other known carcinogens include asbestos, plutonium, and tobacco. 

    Benzene Contained in Printing Ink

    Printing inks are contaminated with benzene primarily by way of the solvent which is added to ink. In other words, ink, a nonvolatile solute, is dissolved in benzene, the solvent. The manufacturers add solvents to printing ink to help the pigment (i.e. the color) stick to the printing surface. Consequently, because some surfaces are more difficult to print on than others, printers and pressmen often add additional solvent to make the ink more suitable for a particular application. 

    Not all printing solvents contain benzene, therefore, the amount of benzene in a printing ink depends on both the type and amount of solvent added to the ink. 

    In the United States, pure benzene was widely used as a printing solvent up until the 1960s. Yet, many years laters, when the use of pure benzene was entirely phased out, many solvent-based inks still contained dangerous levels of benzene.

    Many of the most popular solvent-based printing inks use petroleum solvents. A petroleum solvent is a solvent which is distilled from petroleum or a petroleum byproduct. Mineral spirits, naphtha, and toluene are all examples of common petroleum solvents. 

    Benzene is a natural constituent of petroleum, and while it is known to cause cancer, it is very costly to remove it from a petroleum distillate entirely. Consequently, because manufacturers prioritize cost savings over safety, many printing inks contained excessive amounts of benzene even after pure benzene was phased out. 

    Today, the amount of benzene found in petroleum solvent-based inks has been greatly reduced. However, there is no safe level of benzene exposure. Chronic exposures to trace quantities of benzene may amount to dangerous levels over time.

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    How Benzene Exposure Occurs

    Dangerous levels of benzene can enter your body through inhalation, ingestion, or absorption through the skin. If you feel you may have been exposed to unacceptable levels of benzene, a medical professional can explain how to test for exposure to benzene. 

    Inhalation is often the primary route of exposure to the benzene in printing ink. When ink is applied, the solvent in the ink evaporates leaving the pigment on the printing surface. Without adequate protection, any benzene in the solvent vapors can quickly make its way into your lungs. The epidemiology that we rely upon to prove these cases establishes that long-term inhalation exposures to low concentrations of benzene are often more harmful than short-term exposures at much higher concentrations.

    Dermal exposure to printing ink is also dangerous. Since benzene can be absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream, printers and pressmen who regularly get benzene-containing inks on their skin are at increased risk for leukemia. Any cuts or scrapes make it even easier for the benzene to find its way into the bloodstream.

    While less common than inhalation and dermal exposures, ingestion of benzene-containing inks can be more damaging. Scientific study has indicated that benzene can be more easily absorbed through the stomach than it is through the lungs or skin. Working with inks and then failing to wash your hands before eating is one such way that harmful ingestion of benzene may occur.

    Experienced Benzene Exposure Attorney

    When it comes to dealing with these extremely complicated cases, where workers suffered deleterious health effects from benzene, we recommend reaching out to the Benzene Lawyers at Hughes Law Offices. Our dedicated team of legal experts has the knowledge and experience you need to file a successful claim against the manufacturers of these harmful benzene products. 

    Our law firm is dedicated to working with benzene-exposed workers, and because that is all we do – we do it very well. If you, or your loved one, worked as a printer or pressman and has received a cancer or blood disorder diagnosis, call Benzene Lawyers today at 1-800-BENZENE. We will provide a free case evaluation and help you figure out if you have a benzene leukemia lawsuit similar claim. We understand how difficult this situation is and we are here to help. 

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