Benzene was identified as a carcinogen and can cause various forms of leukemia from just five years of exposure, resulting in death in some instances.
Benzene has been banned as solvent in the United States for over twenty 20 years, yet workers are still exposed by direct and indirect sources. People working with petroleum solvents containing benzene are at greatest risk, because Benzene remains in use in most petroleum solvents. By using the solvent workers may come into contact by breathing in into their lungs or may absorb it through their skin when applying the solvent. Millions of workers may be exposed to benzene in the U.S. every year, estimated at more than 3 million workers.
Everyday, workers are exposed to benzene, the human carcinogen that has been responsible for instances of acute myelogenous leukemia, acute lymphocytic leukemia, chronic myelogenous leukemia, in addition to other forms of cancer and leukemia. While workers have the highest risk for becoming inflicted with adverse effects of benzene, benzene exists in the environment and in consumer products, putting everyone at risk to develop potentially deadly health conditions. The EPA estimates that half of the entire U.S. population has been exposed to the dangerous chemical.
Workers at Risk for Benzene Exposure
- Chemical workers
- Gasoline distribution workers
- Refinery workers
- Shoe/leather workers
- Rubber workers
- Pesticides manufacturing workers
- Paper and pulp manufacturing workers
- Adhesive production workers
- Newspaper press workers
Immediately or shortly after being exposed to benzene adverse health effects can be present, including:
- Benzene can cause eye and skin irritation
- Nose and throat irritation from benzene exposure
- Benzene causing dizziness, lightheadedness, headache, and vomiting.
- High benzene exposure can result in convulsions and coma or sudden death from irregular heartbeat
Benzene Related Diseases
Benzene is a known carcinogen that can wreak havoc- even in low doses -on the immune system of anyone who is exposed to it. It has been linked to a slew of deadly, dangerous diseases, including:
- Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL)
- Acute myeloid leukemia (AML)
- Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML)
- Myelodysplastic syndrome
- Non- hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Secondary aplastic anemia
If you worked in the above industries for any length of time and get Leukemia or a rare disease benzene may be the cause. People who are exposed over long periods of time are at greater risk, but studies have shown that even small amounts of Benzene can cause cancer.
The EPA estimated that 50% of the U.S. population has been exposed to benzene by industrial sources, including oil refineries and chemical plants.