This Benzene Facts page provides some basic information about the use of benzene, a common but toxic chemical, as well as the scientific, medical, and legal aspects of benzene exposure.
As such, this Benzene Facts information may be especially helpful to workers diagnosed with leukemia cancer or a blood disease that might be related to their past exposures to benzene on the job or in the workplace.
Benzene Use Past and Present
- In the past, benzene was used in various industries directly as a solvent and for other purposes.
- For many years, but no longer, benzene was an ingredient in solvents, paints, types of cement, printing inks, glues, and other petroleum-based products.
- Today, benzene is a contaminant in petroleum hydrocarbon products, because it exists in the crude oil from which products are refined.
- Benzene can still be found in workplaces that manufacture plastics and petrochemicals.
- Lastly, benzene is an additive in gasoline.
Benzene Science Fundamentals
- Benzene is a light aromatic hydrocarbon chemical.
- The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established a Permissible Exposure Level (PEL) for occupational exposures to benzene at 1 part per million (ppm) on an 8-hour time-weighted average.
- This OSHA benzene PEL might be regarded as the “safe” level for benzene exposures in the workplace.
- However, this benzene PEL is below the level at which most people can detect the aromatic odor of benzene. That means workers who were exposed to benzene in the past might not smell benzene until it is at a harmful level.
Benzene Medical Conditions
- Benzene is universally recognized as a human carcinogen.
- Benzene exposure causes leukemia cancers and various blood diseases.
- Medical studies have shown that cumulative exposures of benzene of 1 part per million years (a total of 1 ppm over the course of a year) are sufficient to cause leukemia and blood diseases.
- The latency period — or “lag time” / delay — from a person’s benzene exposure to their development and diagnosis of leukemia cancer or blood disease ranges from as little as a few months to as much as 30 years.
- Because of this potentially long latency period, any person who worked with or around benzene in the past — even if it was many years ago — should tell their current doctors about all the different benzene exposures that they had over the course of their work history.
Benzene Legal Cases
- The allegations generally set forth in benzene lawsuits involve the failures to warn and protect workers as regards toxic levels of benzene exposures. The legal claims usually found in benzene lawsuits are based on products liability law and premises liability law.
- Workers’ compensation laws vary from state to state, but benzene workers comp claims are usually about the increased risks of benzene-related cancers and diseases due to a person’s employment in jobs and workplaces where benzene or benzene-containing products were used.
- For these reasons, when evaluating a possible case for potential benzene lawsuit plaintiffs or workers compensation claimants, the experienced benzene lawyer will carefully consider all past jobs and workplaces in order to determine when this person had harmful benzene exposures over the course of their work history that might be related to their leukemia cancer or blood disease.
After reading the information presented on this Benzene Facts page, one might realize there is a possible benzene lawsuit or a possible benzene workers’ compensation claim. This case could be for you, a family member, or someone you know.
In more detail, that benzene case could be filed for either:
- The worker who has been diagnosed with a benzene-related cancer or disease.
- The surviving spouse and family of such a worker who died in the past several years.
If so, we encourage you to submit a Benzene Case Review – it is free, confidential, and there is no obligation. Or, if you prefer, call our toll-free number, (800) 426-9535, to speak directly to attorney Tom Lamb about a possible benzene case.